News from around the world

New Releases for January 2024 and Later

Browse a selection of new recordings


Here is our list of new releases, compiled from emails received between 13 November and 13 December 2023 inclusive, ordered by release date.

Our regular writers will receive an email about this list, and will be asked to choose which items they would like to review. If you have submitted details of an album and it is chosen for review, we will request a review copy from you, your label or its UK distributor.

The list has been prepared quickly. Apologies for any omissions, or if the information is not up to our usual standards. Please let us know if you find any mistakes.

Unless otherwise specified, each item is a single CD.

Extra information about some new releases can also be found here.


23 FEBRUARY 2024

Jacques Cohen: The Lady of Satis House; When the Bough Breaks; From Behind Glass
Marie Vassiliou, soprano; The Tippett Quartet: John Mills, violin; Jeremy Isaac, violin; Lydia Lowndes-Northcott, viola; Bozidar Vukotic, cello
Meridian Records CDE 84668
Release: 23 February 2024
Jacques Cohen's haunting operatic monodrama The Lady of Satis House, inspired by the story of Miss Havisham from Charles Dickens' Great Expectations, will be released on the Meridian Records label on 23 February 2024, with lyric soprano Marie Vassiliou as Miss Havisham and the Tippett Quartet.  The work was written for 'Tête à Tête: The Opera Festival' in 2012, the bicentenary of Dickens' birth. The album also includes two pieces for string quartet: When the Bough Breaks (a set of three eerie lullabies) and the tone poem From Behind Glass, a fantasy about a quartet of Stradivarius instruments trapped in glass cabinets. The Lady of Satis House is scored for soprano and string quartet, and tells the story of Great Expectations from Miss Havisham's point of view.  Jacques Cohen adapted the text from Dickens himself and already had Marie Vassiliou in mind for the role, a notable interpreter of contemporary music. Like Britten's Turn of the Screw the nine scenes are constructed in variation form, building in intensity towards the tragic climax.

Luca d'Alberto: In Our Hearts
Decca France (LP, digital)
Release: 23 February 2024
Italian composer Luca D'Alberto reveals the last chapter of Tomorrow with the release of his new album In our Hearts: a chapter on hope symbolized by electronic influenced tracks.

Igor Stravinsky: Pulcinella Suite - Manuel de Falla: El Retablo de Maese Pedro & Harpsichord Concerto
Benjamin Alard, harpsichord; Mahler Chamber Orchestra / Pablo Heras-Casado
harmonia mundi HMM902653
Release: 23 February 2024

Bruckner: Symphony No 4 in E flat major
Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra / Dominic Hindoyan
Onyx ONYX4244
Release: 23 February 2024
Onyx Classics is pleased to present a new recording from the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra under Domingo Hindoyan. Bruckner's 4th symphony was completed in 1874 and underwent substantial revisions (including a new scherzo) in 1878 and 1880. This recording was taken from live performances at the Philharmonic Hall, Liverpool.

A Gardener's World - Flowers in Song
Alessandro Fisher, Anna Tilbrook
Rubicon RCD1087
Release: 23 February 2024
Rubicon Classics is delighted to present this album from tenor Alessandro Fisher, his debut release on the label. During the period of lockdown in 2020, Alessandro and his wife spent many hours in their garden. A heightened awareness of the beauty of nature, the flowers in their garden and the changes it underwent as winter moved to spring, and then to summer, formed the basis of this beautifully curated recital.


16 FEBRUARY 2024

Antonio Vivaldi: Concerti per una vita
Le Consort; Théotime Langlois de Swarte, violin, direction
harmonia mundi HMM902373.74
Release: 16 February 2024


12 FEBRUARY 2024

Dancing with Piazzolla
London Tango Quintet
Release: 12 February 2024
The London Tango Quintet is a unique group of five internationally acclaimed musicians performing tango music at the highest level. This is their long-awaited debut recording, produced by Andrew Walton of K&A Productions. The group was formed in 2007 when violinist, David Juritz, brought together the Grammy-nominated guitarist, Craig Ogden, and Serbian accordion virtuoso, Miloš Milivojević. Soon after they were joined by one of London's top session bassists, Richard Pryce, and jazz pianist/harpsichordist/composer, David Gordon.



Ravel, Berkeley, Pounds: Orchestral Works
Sinfonia of London / John Wilson
Chandos CHSA 5324 (1 SACD)
Release: 9 February 2024
The three composers whose works appear on this album are interconnected: Ravel was a mentor to Lennox Berkeley, and Berkeley to Pounds. Le Tombeau de Couperin marks Ravel's movement towards neoclassicism, its forms and style a re-invention of ones from the French baroque. Originally written for solo piano, the movements of the suite were dedicated to friends whom Ravel had lost in the First World War. In 1919 he orchestrated four of the six movements (the version performed here). Berkeley met Ravel a number of times in the 1920s, working as an interpreter and tour-guide whilst Ravel was in London. Ravel advised him to study with Nadia Boulanger, which he did, between 1926 and 1932. Commissioned by Sir Arthur Bliss for the BBC Symphony Orchestra in 1942, the Divertimento initially received a mixed reception, but has since found many supporters (including Pounds). The critic Peter Dickinson felt it showed an 'instinctive and unimpassioned creativeness associated with the French aesthetic, but by no means restricted to it'. Adam Pounds studied privately with Berkeley in London during the late 1970s, and in his own music has perpetuated the firm commitment of the two earlier composers to clarity and accessibility in everything they wrote. His Third Symphony was written in 2021 and is a response to the national lockdowns in 2020 and 2021 prompted by the Covid-19 pandemic. Pounds states that the piece captures the 'sadness, humour, determination and defiance' which everyone faced at this time - not least musicians. Scored for relatively modest orchestral forces, the work is dedicated to Sinfonia of London and John Wilson who here give the work its first recording.

Franz Schubert: Trios Op 99 & 100
Trio Wanderer
harmonia mundi HMM932002.03
Release: 9 February 2024
Unanimously hailed by the critics ever since their release in 2000, these recordings offer a chance to follow Schubert's development in the field of the piano trio, from the youthful Sonatensatz (1812) to the immense masterpieces of his maturity.

Julie Cooper
Signum Classics SIGCD847
Release: 9 February 2024
This album is Julie Cooper's second to be released on the Signum Classics label. It is an eye into the world of colour in music, from the Italian Renaissance through to the present day. Inspired by the talent of the artists recording the tracks, by paintings, dances and architecture of the Italian Renaissance and the vividly descriptive colours the Oculus Ensemble's conductor Jessica Cottis sees when conducting in certain keys through her synaesthesia.  Julie Cooper's music is broadcast extensively on screen for Film, BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and 5 and all visual media and advertising worldwide. She has scored multiple cinematic orchestral and chamber albums for television drama, wildlife documentaries and film, along with numerous drama commissions for theatre, BBC Radio Drama and the concert platform. Her album 'Haunted By The Secret' on Universal's Chappell Noir label, won Best Score Production Music Track in The Production Music Awards with her track 'Game Of Trust'.

Puccini: Symphonic Suites imagined by Carlo Rizzi
Welsh National Opera / Carlo Rizzi
Signum Classics SIGCD778
Release: 9 February 2024
In Puccini's anniversary year, chief conductor of Welsh National Opera, Carlo Rizzi, has created new, purely orchestral versions of some of his best-known and beloved works. Staying pure and faithful to Puccini's original orchestration without anything added to 'cover' any perceivable lack of vocal line the brilliance of Puccini's Madama Butterfly, Tosca and other works shine through in this album of first recordings.



Bryn Terfel: Sea Songs
Deutsche Grammophon
Release: 2 February 2024
Bryn Terfel's new album Sea Songs presents a rich and diverse repertory of traditional music with sea shanties, spirited sailor songs and maritime folk tunes in brand new arrangements. Featuring guest stars Sting, Sir Simon Keenlyside, Fisherman's Friends and Calan.

Christopher Brown: 24 Preludes & Fugues
Nathan Williamson, piano
Lyrita SRCD2431
Release: 2 February 2024
Christopher Brown writes, I set myself the challenge of writing a book of 24 preludes and fugues in all the major and minor keys and I approached family, friends, and several institutions I had been associated with, to commission a prelude and fugue each, with many of the resultant commissioners asking for references to pieces of music that had a special meaning for them, a request that I tried to follow through wherever possible. Within a very short space of time, I realised just what a task I had set myself. The project took me 8 years to complete, and it was not until 2019 that I finally put the finishing touches to the concluding B minor Fugue. The score was published on my birthday in June 2020 and I received an unexpected email from Nathan Williamson, saying that he would love to learn the music, and, because of the restrictions imposed by the covid lockdowns, it might be a good time to see if a complete recording might be contemplated. To our considerable delight, Lyrita Recorded Edition agreed to take on the project that has led to the release of the present boxed set. Very early in the planning process I had decided that the set would be divided into 4 books (each made up of 6 preludes and fugues) based around one of the notes of the name BACH (B flat, A, C and B natural in German notation), and starting and ending in the major or the minor tonality of the 4 keys. In addition, I wanted to reference the cryptogram of Dmitri Shostakovich (DSCH - D, E flat, C and B), whose own masterly set of 24 Preludes and Fugues also casts its influence across my set.

Richard Wagner: Die Walküre
Laila Andersson-Palme, Sven-Olof Eliasson, Lisbeth Balslev, Aage Haugland, Leif Roar, Minna Nyhus, Aarhus Symphony Orchestra / Francesco Cristofoli
Sterling CDA1870
Release: 2 February 2024
Die Walküre is the second of the four music dramas that constitute Richard Wagner's Der Ring des Nibelungen. The story of Die Walküre is based on the Norse mythology told in the Völsunga saga and the Poetic Edda. In this version, the Volsung twins Sieglinde and Siegmund, separated in childhood, meet and fall in love. This union angers the gods, who demand that Siegmund must die. Sieglinde and the couple's unborn child are saved by the defiant actions of Wotan's daughter, the title character, Valkyrie Brünnhilde, who as a result faces the gods' retribution.  Laila Andersson-Palme was born in 1942 in the village of Lösen in Blekinge. She was admitted to the solo singing class at the Academy of Music in Stockholm in 1960 and began singing minor roles at the Royal Theatre in Stockholm. After a student performance in 1963 with Violetta's aria in La traviata she was immediately employed at the Opera house as a scholarship holder. Here she sang many roles in the lyrical and lyrical-dramatic repertoire such as Susanna and the Countess in The Marriage of Figaro, Mikaela in Carmen, Antonia in The tales of Hoffmann and Rosalinda in Die Fledermaus.  In an interview Laila Andersson-Palme said 'I had sung Brünnhilde quite a few times since 1983 before it was time for this complete production of Wagner's Ring in Aarhus, Denmark, which also included Siegfried and Götterdämmerung. At the Stockholm Opera, I sang the role ten times from 1983 to 1991 ... I have always seen Wagner as very much a composer of songs. He was more familiar with the possibilities of singing than one might imagine. Some say that you can ruin your voice if you sing too much Wagner. That may be the case, and it may be good when you take on his work to also sing other repertoire at the same time. But his music flows in a wonderful way ... Wagner's score contains more nuances than one might imagine.'

Danish Choral Music
Jakob Lorentzen; Holmens Kantori & Vokalensemble
Danacord DACOCD 974
Release: 2 February 2024
Holmens Kirke is located in the heart of Copenhagen, surrounded by the historic buildings of Christiansborg Palace (which now houses the Danish Parliament) and the old stock exchange 'Børsen' from 1625, as well as the newer National Bank, designed by Arne Jacobsen and built between 1965-1978. It was King Christian IV of Denmark who first converted this site from a naval anchor forge into a church in 1619. For more than four hundred years, Holmens Kirke has served as the Royal Naval Church. Her Majesty Queen Margrethe II of Denmark and her consort, the late Prince Henrik, were married in Holmens Kirke on 10 June 1967. Holmens Kirke holds a special significance in Danish musical life, partly due to the church's rich history, prominent location and excellent acoustic, but also thanks to the great figures of Danish music such as Niels W Gade, Thomas Laub and Mogens Wøldike who all worked as organists at Holmens Kirke. Each year, the church attracts thousands of people for its services and concerts. This CD showcases the church music composed by the current organist of Holmens Kirke, Jakob Lorentzen. These works were created for use in services, ceremonies and concerts at Holmens Kirke and Christiansborg Palace Chapel. It is customary in Mass services at Holmens Kirke that, following the Old Testament reading, the choir perform a short 'korvers' ('choral verse') whilst the congregation remain standing to listen. A condensed selection of these 'mini motets', which number 140 in all, can be heard on this CD.

Grieg: Symphonic Dances; Before a Southern Convent; Funeral March for Rikard Nordraak; Bergliot
Soloists; Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra / Edward Gardner
Chandos CHSA 5301 (1 SACD)
Release: 2 February 2024
Grieg's four Symphonic Dances are late works, completed in 1898. Grieg takes his inspiration (as in so much of his output) from traditional Norwegian folk tunes, and the four movements together deliver a symphonic unity in their overall effect. Both Bergliot and Before a Southern Convent are written on texts by Grieg's good friend the author Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson, who was also a theatre manager in Oslo. Bjørnson is considered one of the four great Norwegian authors alongside Ibsen, Lie, and Kielland, received the 1903 Nobel Prize for literature, and wrote the words for the Norwegian national anthem. Bergliot - a declamation with orchestra - tells the story of a dramatic episode involving the chieftain Einar Tambarskjelve and his son Eindride, killed by King Harald Hårdråde. Before a Southern Convent is a more traditional setting - requiring two vocal soloists, female choir, and orchestra rather than the narrator of Bergliot - of the story of the folk-hero and barbarian Arnljot Gelline. In the course of his wild escapades, he killed a chieftain, but allowed the chieftain's daughter, Ingigerd, to live. This daughter left the homestead and wandered southwards in poverty - through Europe. At long last she arrived at a convent which granted her admittance. The album is completed by the Funeral March for Rikard Nordraak - a friend of Grieg's, who died of tuberculosis in 1866. Grieg conceived it first for solo piano, but whilst travelling by train to Bergen to attend Grieg's funeral, Johan Halvorsen made the orchestral arrangement heard in this recording.

A Room of Her Own - Chaminade, Smyth, Tailleferre, Boulanger
Neave Trio
Chandos CHAN 20238
Release: 2 February 2024
In a follow-up to its extremely successful album Her Voice, the Neave Trio on A Room of Her Own once again champions the works of female composers. The only non-French composer on the album is Ethel Smyth whose Piano Trio, one of her earliest works, was composed in 1880. Like many of her works from this era, it shows a clear nod to the Austro-German influences of her studies in Leipzig, particularly of Brahms. Cécile Chaminade was born just a year before Smyth, and her First Piano Trio was written in the same year as Smyth's. The Paris première was very well received by the critics, and the Trio was published a year later. Germaine Tailleferre's Piano Trio began life in 1916 - 17 as a work in three movements, and then gathered dust for over sixty years, until a commission from France's Ministère de la Culture, in 1978, enabled Tailleferre to revive and re-imagine it. By then in her mid-eighties, Tailleferre replaced the original second movement and added a fourth. The Trio is an excellent example of her compositional style - a voice that remained consistent though her long compositional career. Lili Boulanger's D'un matin de printemps and D'un soir triste are perhaps now better known in their orchestral versions: this recording proves that the two pieces work equally well at either scale. As they are among the last compositions of her short life (she died of chronic illness at twenty-four), we are left to imagine what she might have written had she lived longer.

Daniel Hope, Zürcher Kammerorchester
Deutsche Grammophon
Release: 2 February 2024
Daniel Hope has long been fascinated by the power of dance to move and inspire. Taking listeners on a journey through seven centuries of music history, his latest Deutsche Grammophon album, Dance!, celebrates the rhythms that have set bodies in motion and lifted hearts since time began.

Edmund Finnis: Youth
Clare Hammond, piano
Pentatone PTC5187197
Release: 2 February 2024
Youth presents piano works by contemporary composer Edmund Finnis, performed by Clare
Hammond. The EP opens with Youth, a set of brief pieces recalling an image, sensation of
place, significant encounter or a moment of vivid perception. Each musical image is conveyed
as clearly and directly as possible, written for the piano in a focused, uncluttered, personal way.  The EP closes with Lullaby for Emmeline, commissioned by Hammond and her husband on the occasion of their daughter's birth. Evocative and enchanting, these works share a kinship with some of the most famous piano cycles inspired by childhood experiences, while their magical and ethereally beautiful nature are also characteristic of Finnis's iridescent musical approach.

Gabriel Prokofiev: Pastoral 21 for String Sextet, Electronics and processed field recordings
Gabriel Prokofiev, UNLTD Collective
Signum Classics SIGCD761
Release: 2 February 2024
Pastoral 21 is a contemporary exploration on what the concept of 'Pastoral' means to us in this time of climate crisis. It features classical string sextet alongside field recordings, electronic bass & angular beats, centered around Gabriel Prokofiev's contemporary response to Beethoven's Pastoral Symphony. The Album opens with the original first movement of Beethoven's famous symphony (arranged for sextet) - reminding listeners of our less troubled relationship with nature in Beethoven's time - before moving on to the modern beats of Prokofiev's recent composition Breaking Screens, which explores ideas of consumerism, digital life and impending crisis. The programme climaxes with the five-movement 'Pastoral Reflections' which echoes Beethoven's symphonic narrative, but from a contemporary perspective.


26 JANUARY 2024

A te, Puccini
Angela Gheorghiu, Vincenzo Scalera
Signum Classics SIGCD780
Release: 26 January 2024
Angela Gheorghiu has recorded a new album to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Puccini's death, recorded with pianist Vincenzo Scalera. The album features seventeen songs composed by Puccini between 1875 and 1919, including the first recording of the recently rediscovered Melanconia. The album release coincides with Gheorghiu's return to the Royal Opera House where she will reprise the role of Mimì in Puccini's La bohème from 25 January to 11 February 2024.  The recording brings together a collection of little-known songs, including some which Puccini used as inspiration for his popular operas such as Manon Lescaut,La bohème and La rondine. The album is Gheorghiu's tribute to the composer, inspired by his very first song A te, written when he was aged sixteen.

New Baroque - Howley, De Lillo, Petshaft, Skold, Tysoe
Ada Witczyk, violin
First Hand Records FHR160D
Release: 26 January 2024
An album of contemporary music, pushing the boundaries of creativity and what is possible on baroque violin. All works commissioned by violinist Ada Witczyk from former winners of the Růžičková Composition Competition (established in 2020).

Schubert Lieder: Love's Lasting Power
Harriet Burns soprano; Ian tindale piano
Delphian DCD34251
Release: 26 January 2024
Love - from many-splendoured and joyous to tragic and rejected, homo- and heterosexual, light-hearted and broken-hearted, heavenly and earthly, innocent and anything but: in their first joint recording, long-term performing partners Harriet Burns and Ian Tindale make a deeply personal choice of Schubert's lieder, exploring the theme of love, but also the friendships and relationships between poets and the composer out of which he crafted songs of astonishing empathy. Former Winners of the Contemporary Song Prize in the International Vocal Competition at 's-Hertogenbosch, Ian and Harriet bring an outstanding empathy of their own to songs in which we hear, in Ian's words, 'young artists being creative together and exploring things'.

Le Temps Retrouve - Gabriel Fauré, Melanie Bonis, Reynaldo Hahn, Lili Boulanger
Elena Urioste, violin; Tom Poster, piano
Chandos Records CHAN 20275
Release: 26 January 2024
Elena Urioste and Tom Poster return for their second recital on Chandos, focussing on French repertoire. The performers write: 'The three sonatas on this album were all published during the decade 1916-26, a musical period to which we often find ourselves drawn, when the world - and the artistic landscape - was changing beyond recognition. Fauré lamented to his wife that his Second Sonata, composed under the shadow of the First World War, had never achieved anything like the popularity of his First; having fallen under the Second Sonata's spell, we wanted to help to right this continuing imbalance. Mel Bonis, whose life story reads like the plot of a Hollywood film, wrote more than 300 pieces, and all those we have explored so far have been wonderful. Her only violin sonata is a rhapsodic work with a Greek folk melody at its heart, which we were enraptured by the moment we encountered it. Reynaldo Hahn is generally better known to singers than to instrumentalists, though his chamber music is as exquisite as his songs. His Violin Sonata was the last work on this album to be composed. The earliest of the works here, and possibly the most often heard these days, is the Nocturne by Lili Boulanger, an exquisite miniature from a composer whose life ended far too soon.'

Ludovico Einaudi: Eden Roc
Decca Classics (LP Only)
Release: 26 January 2024
Originally released in 1999, Eden Roc starts with deeply moody atmospherics akin to those found in film soundtracks, before moving through a wide range of different moods weaving between songs more familiar in pop sounding records. The record contains the song Due Tramonti, which contains beautifully lyrical melodies from the cello of Marco Decimo.

Ludovico Einaudi: I Giorni
Decca Classics (LP Only)
Release: 26 January 2024
Originally released in 2001, I Giorni paved way for the rise of Ludovico Einaudi to mainstream success. This beautifully melodic record features only solo piano, but captivates throughout with its gorgeous shapes and phrasing taking the listener on a journey with Ludovico himself. Quite aptly, the album contains the title track I Giorni, which has now been certified as a gold record in the UK. This is the first time this album has appeared on highly collectable coloured vinyl.

La Danse
Martin James Bartlett, piano
Warner Classics
Release: 26 January 2024
A collection of twentieth-century French dance repertoire for solo piano, featuring a piano duet with Alexandre Tharaud.  In his third album for Warner Classics, British pianist and BBC Young Musician winner Martin James Bartlett presents La Danse, a programme of dance-inspired French works for solo piano  including Rameau's Gavotte & Six Doubles and Suite in A minor, Couperin's Les Barricades Mystérieuses and Rondeau, and Ravel's La Valse. Alexandre Tharaud joins Bartlett in Le Ruban Dénoué, a work for two pianos by Reynaldo Hahn.

Bartók, Janáček, Szymanowski
Piotr Anderzewski, piano
Warner Classics
Release: 26 January 2024
'The works on this album are imbued with a sense of rebellion [...] These works plumb the very roots of music.' Warsaw-born Piotr Anderzewski juxtaposes solo piano works by three composers who shaped the musical identity of their respective Central European countries in the early twentieth century: Janáček in then Moravia (which became part of Czechoslovakia in 1918), Szymanowski in Poland, and Bartók in Hungary. The repertoire includes Janáček's On an overground path, six of Szymanowski's mazurkas, and Bartók's fourteen bagatelles.

Wagner: Wesendonck Lieder
Joyce DiDonato; Il Pomo D'Oro/ Maxim Emelyanychev
Erato (digital EP)
Release: 26 January 2024
Previously available only as a B-side to the vinyl edition of Joyce DiDonato's EDEN (2022), and later exclusively on Apple Music Classical, DiDonato's interpretation of Wagner's Wesendonck Lider will now be available to stream anywhere.

Portuguese Piano Trios, Vol 3 - Nuno Côrte-Real, Armando José Fernandes, José Viana da Mota
Trio Pangea
Naxos Records 8.574401
Release: 26 January 2024
Trio Pangea explores the rich variety to be found in a century of Portuguese chamber music history. Armando José Fernandes was one of the most prominent Portuguese composers of the mid-twentieth century, and with its contrasting musical playfulness and serene solemnity his Sonata a Tre reveals the composer's strong attachment to neo-Classicism. Nuno Côrte- Real's Sonata Holandesa is representative of a shifting compositional style that ranges in expression from violent to dreamlike. One of Liszt's last pupils, José Viana da Mota has been described as 'utterly Brahmsian' in the noble opening to his Piano Trio, elements of which also reflect the influence of his teacher.

Fabrice Bollon: In Taros Welt ('Taro's Wonderful World') - A musical journey through space and time
René Münch, Jena Philharmonic Orchestra / Fabrice Bollon
Naxos Records 8.574498
Release: 26 January 2024
Taro's Wonderful World was conceived by conductor/composer Fabrice Bollon and author Julia Liebermann as an introduction or initiation into classical music both for children and adults unfamiliar with the genre. Taro, a child from the planet Trujillo, is woken one night by a curious little melody. His adventures take us through increasingly sophisticated and surprising sonic constellations that light-heartedly turn favourite classics upside down and inside out, exploring every facet of the orchestra and combining a wide variety of musical styles in a uniquely enjoyable way. A digital-only version with German narration is also available to stream and download - 9.70356.

Great Composers in Words and Music: Franz Schubert
Leighton Pugh, Davinia Caddy
Naxos Records 8.574498
Release: 26 January 2024
Franz Schubert was regarded chiefly as a composer of domestic music, and during his all-too-brief life managed to publish only a quarter of his works. Without patronage and without ever becoming well known or a virtuoso, how did Schubert manage to achieve unprecedented expressivity in song composition, or to create his chamber, symphonic and piano masterpieces? And how did he reconcile the warring elements of his tempestuous personality? This vivid biographical narrative includes selections from his most popular works including the String Quintet in C major and the 'Trout' Quintet, as well as the symphonies, and examples from his Lieder and stage works.

Allan Pettersson - Complete Edition Box
Norrköping Symphony Orchestra, Nordic Chamber Orchestra, Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra, Eric Ericson Chamber Choir, Swedish Radio Choir, Christan Lindberg, Leif Segerstam, Stig Westerberg
BIS Records BIS9062 (23 CDs + bonus DVD)
Release: 26 January 2024
For the first time, a boxed set brings together the complete works of Allan Pettersson, including his seventeen symphonies, chamber music, vocal works and previously unpublished works performed here by some of the Nordic countries' leading musicians and orchestras. This collection bears witness to BIS Records' enduring commitment to this twentieth-century Swedish music giant. These recordings have earned numerous awards and the highest critical acclaim from the specialist press around the world. Allan Pettersson's music has a very distinctive quality and can hardly be confused with that of any other twentieth-century composer, although it can perhaps be compared with Mahler's symphonic output, particularly in terms of grandiose conception, passion and dynamism. He considered his own sufferings and blessings, especially from childhood, the source of his creativity. With this box, a separate booklet with the complete index to the recordings and works included is provided, as a key to the many hours of music that form the lifework of Allan Pettersson. Also included are 4 DVDs presenting the composer, some of his works and musicians who knew him.

Philip Glass Solo
Philip Glass, piano
Orange Mountain Music OMM0168
Release: 26 January 2024
Orange Mountain Music presents 'Philip Glass Solo' a collection of Glass performing some of his most enduring and beloved piano works. Philip Glass Solo was recorded at a time when the world was undergoing a major shift — for Glass, that shift manifested in going from a busy tour and premiere schedule to time spent at home during the COVID-19 pandemic. The storied musician dedicated this time to revisiting some of his older piano music, occasionally reacquainting himself with these old friends, playing them for an audience of one in his home studio in New York. It is his most personal record to date, offering a snapshot of his life, and a portrait of daily practice over eight decades through several cherished works. Now 86, Glass reflects, 'This record revisits my works for piano. From 2020-2021, I had time at home to practice the works I have played for many years. This record is both a time capsule of 2021, and a reflection on decades of composition and practice. In other words, a document on my current thinking about the music. There is also the question of place. This is my piano, the instrument on which most of the music was written. It's also the same room where I have worked for decades in the middle of the energy which New York City itself has brought to me.'

Fryderyk Chopin: Piano Concerto No 1, Fantasy on Polish Airs & Andante spianato and Grande Polonaise brillante
Abbey Simon, Hamburg Symphony Orchestra / Heribert Beissel
Vox Classics VOX-NX-3032CD
Release: 26 January 2024
Although Chopin's Piano Concerto No 1 in E minor was the first of his two concertos to be
published, it was actually composed shortly after No 2. Stirring, beautiful and with a fiery Rondo finale, the concerto is especially notable for its radiant slow movement, which Chopin said was a 'meditation in beautiful spring weather, but by moonlight.' The other two works on the programme are the Fantasy on Polish Airs, which Chopin called his 'Potpourri on Polish Themes', and the Andante spianato and Grande Polonaise brillante, a dance-inspired showpiece. They're performed in this classic 1972 VOX recording by Abbey Simon, the great American pianist and eloquent exponent of Chopin's works. The Elite Recordings for VOX by legendary producers Marc Aubort and Joanna Nickrenz are considered by audiophiles to be amongst the finest sounding examples of orchestral recordings.

Sergey Prokofiev: Alexander Nevsky & Lieutenant Kije Suite
St Louis Symphony Orchestra, St Louis Symphony Chorus, Arnold Voketaitis, Claudine Carlson, Leonard Slatkin
Vox Classics VOX-NX-3033CD
Release: 26 January 2024
The new medium of film with sound was developing at around the time Prokofiev returned to the Soviet Union, where in 1933 he composed the music for his first film, Lieutenant Kijé. Prokofiev's remarkable perception of the medium's requirements was enhanced by his collaboration with Sergey Eisenstein on Alexander Nevsky. The music was of epic proportions and the resultant cantata remains one of Prokofiev's most brilliantly conceived and popular works. The Elite Recordings for VOX by legendary producers Marc Aubort and Joanna Nickrenz are considered by audiophiles to be amongst the finest sounding examples of orchestral recordings.

The Schumann Trilogy - Complete Concertos & Piano Trios
Isabelle Faust, Jean-Guihen Queyras, Alexander Melnikov, Freiburger Barockorchester, Pablo Heras-Casado
harmonia mundi HMX2904095.98 (3 CDs + 1 Blu-ray)
Release: 26 January 2024
This boxed set assembles the three discs for the first time, with a bonus Blu-ray of the three concertos and the Overture, Scherzo and Finale in concert at the Berlin Philharmonie.


19 JANUARY 2024

Ravel: Complete Solo Piano Music
Oleg Marshev, piano
Danacord DACOCD 905
Release: 19 January 2024

Thomas Jensen Legacy Volume 20
Danacord DACOCD 930 (2 CDs)
Release: 19 January 2024
There was no more unprejudiced or enthusiastic promoter of Danish music than Thomas Jensen. Twelve composers are featured here, in styles ranging from Romantic ballet to modernist oratorio. Nearly all the recordings are issued for the first time ever since they were originally broadcast. Taken together, they present a panoramic picture of Danish music in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

Edouard Lalo: Orchestral Works
Estonian National Symphony Orchestra / Neeme Jarvi
Chandos Records CHAN 20183
Release: 19 January 2024
Lalo considered himself to be first and foremost an opera composer, even though Le Roi d'Ys was his only opera to be performed in his lifetime. He is now best known for his symphonic and chamber music, largely because of the highly political musical establishment in France in his time. The Overture to the opera (which opens this album) is now the best- known music from the piece, which proved a considerable success in France. His ballet Namouna was commissioned by the Paris Opéra and, remarkably, was completed in just four months following extensive delays in agreeing the subject - part of the tales of Casanova. After a successful run of fifteen performances, Lalo parcelled the music up into three 'rhapsodies' for orchestral performance. The first two of these were published as Suites Nos 1 and 2. The third was not published, but the 'Valse de le Cigarette' was later issued separately. Lalo's only surviving Symphony was completed in 1886, but somewhat overshadowed by Saint-Saëns's Organ Symphony (1886) and Franck's Symphony in D minor (1888), but it is a strong work that showcases Lalo's melodic gift and forward-looking harmonic palette.

J B Dunckel: Paranormal Musicality
Warner Classics
Release: 19 January 2024
JB Dunckel is a key figure in electronic music, both as a solo artist and as part of the French musical duo, Air (most famous for their critically acclaimed debut album, Moon Safari, and their score for Sofia Coppola's The Virgin Suicides). The piano has always been central to Dunckel's life - he continued having lessons with his childhood teacher until she passed away twenty years ago. His first album for Warner Classics, Paranormal Musicality, is a collection of eighteen original compositions for solo piano, created from more than 250 melodies captured in a series of recorded solo improvisations from 2019-2022.

Paavo Berglund
Complete EMI Classics and Finlandia Recordings
Warner Classics (42 CDs)
Release: 19 January 2024
Paavo Berglund (1929-2012) was renowned for his interpretations of Sibelius, and recorded his complete symphonies no less than three times, with the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, the Helsinki Philharmonic and the Chamber Orchestra of Europe. This 42-CD box set includes his interpretations of Sibelius, Grieg, Glazunov, Franck, Shostakovich, Vaughan Williams and others, recorded from 1970-1997.

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Overtures
Kölner Akademie / Michael Alexander Willens
BIS Records BIS2062 (1 SACD)
Release: 19 January 2024
From the mid-seventeenth century onwards, the overture became an orchestral piece intended to precede a large-scale dramatic work. This recording brings together twelve overtures from Mozart's operas. They foreshadow the action, sometimes stylistically, sometimes by quoting themes that will appear later, to create a dramatic impression before we even see anything on stage - think of the memorable overtures to Don Giovanni and Die Zauberflöte. The twelve overtures brought together here cover 21 years of Mozart's career: from Mithridate, composed when he was just 14, which testifies to the young composer's familiarity with the galant style then in vogue, to La Clemenza di Tito (1791), the high point of his work in the opera seria genre that was to disappear with him, not forgetting masterpieces such as Die Entführung aus dem Serail, Le nozze di Figaro and Così fan tutte. The Kölner Akademie, playing on period instruments, and its conductor Michael Alexander Willens demonstrate Mozart's unrivalled ability to capture the audience's attention with these brilliant overtures, some of which are among his most famous works, both on stage and in concert.

End of My Days
Ruby Hughes, Manchester Collective
BIS Records BIS2628 (1 SACD)
Release: 19 January 2024
The inspiration for this album came about from Ruby Hughes' first collaboration with the Manchester Collective in the spring of 2020. During the first Covid lockdown, they built the programme of this recital for the purpose of touring the UK and uplifting their audiences at a time when we were all being confronted by challenging notions of mortality and isolation. As artists, they asked themselves what music might attend to the prevailing concerns of this time. Their answers came in the form of this offering. The title of this album, End of My Days, comes from Errollyn Wallen's song; a resounding celebration of life that embraces death without regret or sadness but with great verve and acceptance. The other songs, each in its own way, evoke silence and separation, but also love and hope and even the reassurance that we will return whence we came and light shall lift us into eternity. The concluding song, Deborah Pritchard's Peace, is a message of hope, willingly received as the world emerged out of lockdown in 2021. Luminous tranquillity moves us into the light, towards eternity.

Francesco Cavalli: Hymns, Psalms, and Song
Coro e Ensemble C Monteverdi di Crema / Bruno Gini
Dynamic CDS8011
Release: 19 January 2024
Francesco Cavalli, a central figure in the development of seventeenth century Italian music, was as popular in his time as Verdi was in his. Though Cavalli was immensely successful as an operatic composer he wrote important sacred works in the grandiose tradition of the chapel of St Mark's in Venice as well as shorter, more intense or spiritual pieces. These proved to be revolutionary in their individualism and Cavalli's stylistic and expressive creativity can be heard in this selection which includes the world premiere recording of Confitebor. All come from a single collection published in 1656.

20th-century Middle European Flute Music - Ernst Heinrich Kṙenek, Emil František Burian, Paul Dessau, Arnold Schönberg
Luisa Sello, Bruno Canino
Dynamic CDS7995
Release: 19 January 2024
These four central-European composers share a history of persecution and emigration but survived the worst excesses of the time. Their works for flute and piano reflect very different aesthetic positions. Schoenberg's uncompromising Sonata for Flute and Piano is an arrangement of his Wind Quintet, Op 26 of 1923-24 made a few years later by the Austrian composer Felix Greissle. The Suite by Ernst Křenek is delightfully neo-Classical, whilst the Czech Emil Burian crafted an eloquent, light-hearted work, heard here in its first recording. Paul Dessau's Guernica was written for piano in 1937 and memorialises the tragedy of that bombed city.

Naturstudium - Luis Tabuenca
Luis Tabuenca, percussion
Mode Records MOD-CD-343
Release: 19 January 2024
Paul Klee's Naturstudium (1923) recalibrated the dialogue between art-making and the natural world. By peering closely at nature, Klee's project was one of a magical de-mystification, seemingly a contradiction in terms until you realize that by looking clearly and dispassionately, he brought us full circle to wonder and awe. Spanish percussionist Luis Tabuenca also peers inward at his world — here the universe of percussion sounds — inviting us to a microscopic listening experience of the grain and texture of percussive timbre. Using no electronics other than simple amplification we hear, in super close-up, the sounds of bowed percussion instruments, of drops of water falling on a drum set, of the shifting harmonics of a cymbal as it is amplified by the bass drum upon which it rests. This radical change of scale perplexes the ear at first. How could a sound as soft as a simple drop of water be so full and dramatic? How could it demand so much acoustical and psychic space? But we quickly accommodate the dislocation of perspective and resize ourselves as participants in a Lilliputian sound world. All are first recordings.

Rebecca Clarke: Sonatas for violin, viola and piano
Judith Ingolfsson, Vladimir Stoupel
Oehms Classics OC1731
Release: 19 January 2024
Born in London in 1886, violinist/violist Rebecca Clarke was also a composer who produced a significant number of works; her songs and chamber music were particularly notable. Although her output became neglected after the Second World War, it experienced a renaissance in the 1970s. The performances on this album take the listener on a journey through the eloquence and profundity of Rebecca Clarke's creative world. This is Oehms Classics' second album featuring Judith Ingolfsson (violin, viola) and Vladimir Stoupel (piano), furthering the label's commitment to presenting musical discoveries.

Upheaval - Henriëtte Bosmans, Dora Pejačević, Lili Boulanger, Nadia Boulanger
Janne Fredens, cello; Søren Rastogi, piano
OUR Recordings 6220683 (1 SACD)
Release: 19 January 2024
An exceptional project in several aspects. First, it presents four compositions for cello and piano written by female composers from the first part of the twentieth century, challenging the cultural norms of the day and secondly, the title, 'Upheaval', also refers to the tumultuous period around the First World War. The works featured on this recording are Henriëtta Bosmansʼ Sonata for Cello and Piano (1919), Dora Pejačevićʼs Sonata for Cello and Piano (1913), Nadia Boulangerʼs Trois pièces (1914) and Lili Boulangerʼs Nocturne (1911), and were all written over an eight-year period in France, the Netherlands and Croatia. The artists, the husband-and-wife cello/piano duo of Janne Fredens (cello) and Søren Rastogi (piano) approach this program with a sense of profound commitment and mission, recognizing that their performances of such unfamiliar repertoire may well serve as a benchmark for future artists. This is a highly recommended recording for fans of unfamiliar chamber music, advocates for women composers and those who just love to hear glorious music played by great musicians with passion and commitment.

Gronland's Goethe - Songs & Ballads
Reinaldo Dopp, Albrecht Hartmann
Rondeau Production / Klanglogo KL1549
Release: 19 January 2024
Peter Grønland's settings are beautiful, timeless melodies, magnificently harmonised, simple and subtle at the same time. Peter Grønland (1761-1825) was both a German and a Dane to whom the North German and Danish music of around 1800 owes much. For his first recording, Reinaldo Dopp made a dramaturgically harmonious selection from Grønland's songs and ballads on texts by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe.

Sonata Forum No 3: A Century of American Viola Sonata - Eric Ewazen, Ulysses Kay, Libby Larsen, David Tcimpidis
Basil C Vendryes, William David
Toccata Next TOCN0026
Release: 19 January 2024
These five works - four sonatas and a sonatina - chronicle a century of American writing for the viola and are linked by a concern for directness of musical language. Each has a distinguishing characteristic, too, the Ulysses Kay pieces being written by a pioneering African-American, Libby Larsen's by a successful female freelance composer, Eric Ewazen's animated by a particularly American lyricism and energy, and that by David Tcimpidis commemorating the '9/11' terrorist attack on the World Trade Center, which Tcimpidis heard unfolding.

Four Hands at Home: Domestic Music-Making in the Mid-Nineteenth Century - Alexandre-Pierre-François Boëly, Augusta Holmès, Charles Edward Horsley, Felix Mendelssohn, Ignaz Moscheles, Richard Wagner
Stephanie McCallum, Erin Helyard
Toccata Next TOCN0031
Release: 19 January 2024
Playing piano four-hands was both vital in the dissemination of music in the nineteenth century and also a popular domestic activity. The original 1853 Parisian Erard piano on which this recording was made demonstrates the clarity, warmth and differentiated timbres characteristic of the 'straight stringing' that was later replaced by the 'cross-stringing' of the modern concert grand. The repertoire from the period covers the many genres of four-hand piano works in their varied roles as domestic 'info-entertainment': orchestral works large and small, serious sonatas and variations, showpieces for emerging virtuosi and even a string quartet are all equally engaging in this once-familiar medium.

Natural Connection
Leon McCawley, piano
SOMM Recordings SOMMCD 0680
Release: 19 January 2024
Natural Connection is a captivatingly lyrical new recording by pianist Leon McCawley featuring music for solo piano inspired by the natural world. The effect of the ever-changing seasons has been a perpetual inspiration for composers since Ancient Greece's Delphic hymns and before, down to the present day, arguably finding its richest expression, as Robert Matthew-Walker's erudite booklet notes argue, in the generations who alternatively espoused Romanticism and Impressionism. Nine composers, each with their own individual but complementary responses, are featured in a 21-track recital of miniature gems traversing the inexorable turn of the year's cycle from Christian Sinding's tremulous signature, Rustle of Spring, to Grieg's sublimely tentative To the Spring. In between, popular pieces by Debussy (Clair de Lune) and Saint-Saëns (The Swan) vie with assorted works by Tchaikovsky (selections from The Seasons), Ravel (the liquescent Jeux d'eau), Bartók (the delightful From the Diary of a Fly and atmospheric The Night's Music), and Rachmaninov (the gentle Lilacs and poetic Daisies). The most expressive pianist-composer of his age, Liszt, contributes three pieces including the sighing ebb-and-flow of Au lac de Walletstadt and stormy Orage, to eloquently link this multi-faceted and evocative, often moving, collection of responses to the living world.

Prokofiev Milestones, Volume 1
Lana Trotovšek, violin; Boris Bizjak, violin, flute; Maria Canyigueral, piano
SOMM Recordings SOMMCD0671
Release: 19 January 2024
The first volume of Prokofiev Milestones features three characterful sonatas and a sparkling arrangement of music from Romeo and Juliet performed by violinists Lana Trotovšek and Boris Bizjak (who also doubles on flute) accompanied by Maria Canyigueral on piano. Prokofiev Milestones revealingly turns the focus away from the prolific composer's famed orchestral works and celebrated ballets to his rich and varied chamber music. First performed in 1943, the Sonata for Flute and Piano (Op 94) is, as Robert Matthew-Walker comments in his notes, 'music not of war, but of peace'; a pastoral escape laced with wit and mischief vouchsafed within a pristine neo-classical frame. It is heard again, transformed, in Prokofiev's own transcription for Violin and Piano (Op 94a). Composed soon after, it lays claim to being 'one of the finest twentieth-century works in the genre and a genuine masterpiece'. The Sonata for Two Violins (Op 56) is heard in a new arrangement by Boris Bizjak that eloquently makes much of its sentimentality, drama and vitality. A characterful suite drawn from Romeo and Juliet, and arranged for violin and piano by Lidia Baich and Matthias Fletzberger, revels in Shakespeare's great romance and Prokofiev's ardent response to it.

Earthcycle: Arrangements and music by Vivaldi and David Gordon
Orchestra of the Swan / David Le Page
Signum Classics SIGCD789
Release: 19 January 2024
Following their acclaimed mix-tape series on Signum Classics, Earthcycle is the fifth album from Orchestra of the Swan and David Le Page. Earthcycle is an innovative and timely project which finds a compelling way to engage with humanity's most urgent threat. Through three initial performances, a recording and a film, Earthcycle contem-plates our impact on Earth's environment and the disruption of its natural rhythms. To celebrate the 300th anniversary of Vivaldi's Four Seasons they have commissioned a new version from our Associate Artist, baroque/jazz musician and composer David Gordon which is interspersed with traditional folk songs related to the theme of the seasons and performed by singer Jackie Oates. Earthcycle highlights the 21st centu-ry's greatest concern whilst celebrating nature and our place within it.

Five, Six, Seven, Eight ... The Edge of Tango Vol 2
El Antitango records
Release: 19 January 2024
Featuring the works of Piazzolla and Rovira, the Belgian group Sonico explores the innovative forms of ballet music composed at the origins of avant-garde tango.  This album's repertoire was largely lost and hasn't been performed in its original form since the 1960s. Thanks to the intensive transcription work of 11 pieces, the Tango Buenos Aires from Rovira has now been given a new life. As far as Piazzolla's Tango Ballet is concerned, this score is the only one that survived Piazzolla's impulsive decision to burn the 19 scores written for his Octeto Buenos Aires in a barbecue. Horrified by Piazzolla's decision, his cellist, José Bragato was able to rescue the score of 'Tango Ballet' by throwing it under a sofa.


12 JANUARY 2024

Robert Schumann: Piano Works
Llŷr Williams
Signum Classics SIGCD756
Release: 12 January 2024
His 15th album with Signum Classics, the Welsh pianist, Llŷr Williams, brings a profound musical intel-ligence to his work as soloist, accompanist and chamber musician. His new album of Robert Schumann works explores a selection of works that span a substantial part of Schumann's life, including Papillons Op 2 (written while he studied law at Leipzig University) all the way up to Faschingsschwank aus Wien pub-lished in 1841. Llŷr Williams' long and successful collaboration with Signum Records includes the 8-disc box-set 'A Schubert Journey' (2020), the 12-volume 'Beethoven Unbound' (2018), a 'Wagner Without Words' double album (2014) and highlights from Liszt's 'Années de pèlerinage' (2012).

Karl Jenkins: The Armed Man (Ensemble Version)
Hertfordshire Chorus (cond. David Temple), London Orchestra da Camera, Kathryn Rudge, Jamal Aliyev, Osama Kiwan
Signum Classics SIGCD779
Release: 12 January 2024
The Hertfordshire Chorus and David Temple return with their third release on Signum Classics, with a recording of Karl Jenkins' The Armed Man, released in January ahead of the composer's 80th birthday in February. The album features the world premiere recording of Jenkins' ensemble version of his popular work, written as an alternative for when the full symphonic version is not possible. The Hertfordshire Chorus is one of the UK's finest symphonic choirs, joined on this recording by mezzo-soprano Kathryn Rudge, muezzin Osama Kiwan and cellist Jamal Aliyev along with the London Orchestra da Camera.

Joanna Forbes L'Estrange: Heaven to Earth
London Voices / Ben Parry; Andreana Chan, organ
Signum Classics SIGCD790
Release: 12 January 2024
Heaven to Earth is a collection of singable, accessible, sacred choral music by the best-selling choral composer and multi-faceted musician Joanna Forbes L'Estrange. The album comprises introits, anthems, canticles, a set of Preces and Responses, and a congregational mass setting, and the 17 pieces display a range of styles, from traditional, church choral music to gospel- and jazz-influenced. Each piece sits comfortably within the SATB vocal ranges, the organ accompaniments are designed to support the choir, there is minimal division within the parts, and the harmonies areattractive and approachable. The texts are drawn from the Bible, the Psalms, The Book of Common Prayer, Holy Communion, writers including St Richard of Chichester, Phineas Fletcher, Jane Austen, and the composer herself, and all of the pieces are suitable for church services: Eucharist, Choral Evensong, weddings and funerals. The settings are written with the intention of enhancing the meaning of the words, both for those who sing them and for those who hear them.

Felix Mendelssohn: Die erste Walpirgisnacht; Vom Himmel hoch; Fanny Mendelssohn Hensel: Hiob; Gartenlieder
Julia Doyle, Jess Dandy, Mark Le Brocq, Ashley Riches, Crouch End Festival Chorus, London Mozart Players / David Temple
Chandos Records CHSA 5318 (hybrid SACD)
Release: 12 January 2024
David Temple conducts the Crouch End Festival Chorus and London Mozart Players with a formidable group of soloists on this album celebrating the works of the siblings Felix Mendelssohn and Fanny Hensel (née Mendelssohn). Fanny's cantata Hiob, based on the Book of Job, is the second of three cantatas composed between February and November 1831, although it remained unpublished until 1992. Later in her short career, encouraged by her brother and her friend Robert von Keudell, Fanny did begin to publish her works. The Gartenlieder, Op 3 for unaccompanied choir were composed in 1846, and inspired by the gardens and summerhouse at the family's Leipzigerstraße residence, in Berlin, where she held her choir rehearsals. Mendelssohn's Die erste Walpurgisnacht is a secular cantata, a setting of the poem by Goethe, originally performed in 1831. Mendelssohn revised the work extensively in 1843, and it is this later version that is performed here. His Christmas cantata Vom Himmel hoch, based on a Lutheran chorale, was completed in 1831.

Schumann & Grieg: Piano Concertos
Elisabeth Leonskaja, Luzerner Sinfonieorchester / Michael Sanderling
Warner Classics
Release: 12 January 2024
Elisabeth Leonskaja, who ranks among the most celebrated pianists of our time, releases her third album on Warner Classics, following her acclaimed recordings of the complete Schubert sonatas and Beethoven piano concerti. She performs Schumann's Piano Concerto in A minor and Grieg's Piano Concerto in A minor with Michael Sanderling and the Luzerner Sinfonieorchester.

César Franck: Symphony in D minor; Ernest Chausson: Symphony in B flat major
Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin / Jean-Luc Tingaud
Naxos Records 8.574536
Release: 12 January 2024
César Franck's only symphony came at a time when the French music world was seeking to rival the great Austro-German tradition. The 'darkness-to-light' narrative of the Symphony in D minor owes a debt to Beethoven and there is a unique power within its distinctive themes, innovative cyclic form and general gravitas. Franck's student Ernest Chausson was no doubt inspired by his teacher's thematic metamorphoses, but the anguished influence of Wagner is also ever present. The published score of the Symphony in B flat major includes many errors which conductor Jean-Luc Tingaud has meticulously corrected after careful study of Chausson's autograph manuscripts.

Franz von Suppé: Fantasia Symphonica; Orchestral Overtures; Preludes
Tonkünstler-Orchester / Ola Rudner
Naxos Records 8.574538
Release: 12 January 2024
In addition to having written the first Viennese operetta, Franz von Suppé was a master of the Italian, French and German styles which he blended like an alchemist to form his own unique, irrepressible compositions. Two imperishable examples are here, the overtures Poet and Peasant and Morning, Noon and Night in Vienna. This album also explores his previously unrecorded Fantasia Symphonica, recently rediscovered in Viennese archives by conductor Ola Rudner, which displays masterful orchestration, distinctive melodies and a mastery of counterpoint. Other rarities complete this fresh look at the breadth of Suppé's ambition.

Antonín Dvořák: String Quartet No 2; Bagatelles; Rondo in G minor
Fine Arts Quartet
Naxos Records 8.574513
Release: 12 January 2024
Antonín Dvořák is revered as one of the greatest composers of late nineteenth-century Romanticism. He is celebrated for the kind of poignant melodies redolent of Czech folk music found in the utterly charming Bagatelles and Rondo - the haunting tunes and harmonic twists of which represent the distinctive style that brought him international fame. Less known is that during the years 1868-70 Dvořák composed in a style so wild for the time that it foreshadowed the modernistic innovations of Schoenberg and his contemporaries. Dvořák's Second Quartet reveals fascinating examples of early experimentation before his transition into the harmonious Slavic style for which he is so beloved.

Giuseppe Verdi: Ernani
Maria José Siri, Xenia Tziouvaras, Joseph Dahah, Francesco Meli, Roberto Frontali, Vitalij Kowaljow, Davide Piva, Orchestra e Coro del Maggio Musicale Fiorentino / James Conlon
Naxos Records 8.660534-35
Release: 12 January 2024
Victor Hugo's 1830 stage drama Hernani won overwhelming admiration, and over a decade later Verdi's attention was drawn to it as an operatic vehicle that would give him opportunities for full dramatic unity. Its subject is the nobleman- turned-brigand Ernani who loves Elvira, herself the object of two other men's desires. Ernani's success was immediate and it became Verdi's most popular opera until he composed Il trovatore. This production won critical acclaim, as did conductor James Conlon.

Philip W J Stopford: Sacred Choral Music
Grace Davidson, Choir of St Luke's Chelsea, Chelsea Camerata, Rupert Jeffcoat, Jeremy Summerly
Naxos Records 8.574548
Release: 12 January 2024
Philip Stopford is admired in Britain and America for his beautifully crafted music, rooted in the Anglican tradition. His works are memorable and colourful, as these world premiere recordings demonstrate. The biggest piece on this album is the Missa Deus nobiscum, a sacred concert work with a scintillating role for soprano soloist that displays Stopford's compositional skill, creating a journey rather than a sequence of set piece movements. Elsewhere, in pieces for a variety of locations and occasions, his music is evocative, filmic and vividly celebratory.

José Antônio de Almeida Prado: Works for Violin and Cello
Emmanuele Baldini, Rafael Cesario
Naxos Records 8.574459
Release: 12 January 2024
José Antônio de Almeida Prado was one of the most prolific and creative Brazilian composers of the second half of the twentieth century, finding inspiration in everything from the birdsong and forests of his native country to a contemplation of the galaxies. The evocative Le Livre magique de Xangô is considered a foundational work in Almeida Prado's final, eclectic postmodern phase, during which folk music also re-emerged in works such as Das Cirandas. The lively Solo Violin Sonata and lyrical Capriccio both explore the violin's full expressive potential, while The Four Seasons tests the skill of younger players.

Daron Aric Hagen: The Art of Song
Lyric Fest, Gilda Lyons, Rebecca Myers, Elisa Sutherland, Meg Bragle, James Reese, Steven Eddy, Laura Ward
Naxos Records 8.559919
Release: 12 January 2024
Daron Hagen is a force to be reckoned with in the world of opera and orchestral music, with Guggenheim, Rockefeller and Kennedy Center Friedheim Awards numbering among his accolades. With Hagen's catalog of over five hundred songs and large-scale cycles, The Art of Song is founded on forty-five years of distinguished experience in vocal music. Divided into four 'life seasons', this richly emotional cycle embraces themes that range from the human cost of America's politics since the Civil War; the rueful wisdom of aging, love and nostalgia; and on towards tragedy, faith and an acceptance of nature's cycles.

Gabriel Fauré, George Enescu: Piano Quartets (Mélodies Infinies)
Suyeon Kang, Karolina Errera, Andrei Ioniță, Cătălin Șerban
Naxos Records 8.551477
Release: 12 January 2024
Gabriel Fauré's Piano Quartet in C minor was one of the first of its genre in France, composed as part of the 'Ars Gallica' idea of strengthening French music against German cultural domination. Fauré didn't entirely escape the influence of Brahms however, and both he and his pupil George Enescu share a spiritual closeness to German late Romanticism in the melancholy complexity of expression in these chamber masterpieces. The monumental first movement of Enescu's First Piano Quartet contrasts with the rhythmic momentum of the last, in a work that integrates French impressionism with the unmistakable folk music characteristics of his native Romania.

Igor Stravinsky: Violin Concerto in D; Bela Bartok: Rhapsodies 1 and 2; Bohuslav Martinu: Suite Concertante, Meditation
Frank Peter Zimmermann, Bamberger Symphoniker, Jakub Hrůša
BIS Records BIS2657 (1 SACD)
Release: 12 January 2024
Stravinsky, Bartók and Martinů were established international figures when they wrote these works for violin, travelling across Europe as well as the United States. With the onset of World War Two, all three composers would ultimately emigrate because of their rejection of fascism. In an age of political upheaval and cultural displacement, each of them found an individual approach to reinventing the language of tonal music, laying down roots in the west without abandoning their Eastern European identities. While the Russian-born Stravinsky was experimenting with possibilities of modern violin technique in his concerto, Martinů took these efforts a step further in his Suite concertante by blending the sounds of his native Bohemia with the colours of French neo-classicism. In the Rhapsodies, Bartók turned to the folk music of Hungary and Romania. Frank Peter Zimmermann, joined here by the Bamberger Symphoniker and its conductor Jakub Hrůša, continues his exploration of the great violin works of the twentieth century.

Chromosphere - Symphonic Colours of the Woodwind Orchestra
Czech Philharmonic Wind Ensemble / Shea Lolin
Divine Art DDX 21117
Release: 12 January 2024
Conductor Shea Lolin and composer/producer Christopher Hussey have produced a second album of premiere recordings spotlighting the woodwind orchestra, capturing its kaleidoscopic colours and symphonic potential in order to deepen and broaden appreciation of the medium's power. The Czech Philharmonic Wind Ensemble is a large chamber ensemble of flutes, oboes, clarinets, bassoons and saxophones in various sizes, and has a highly adaptable and magical tonal palette. This pioneering disc comprising exciting new and re-imagined pieces by leading composers in the genre is a partner disc to 'Twisted Skyscape' released in November.

Luminos - Contemporary Music for the Clarinet Family
Ronald Woodley, clarinets and basset horns; Andrew West, piano
Métier Records MEX 77118
Release: 12 January 2024
A captivating anthology of British clarinet compositions curated and performed by versatile musician Ronald Woodley and pianist Andrew West. This collection explores British musical modernism, featuring both new and underappreciated pieces from the twentieth century by composers Elisabeth Lutyens, Angela Elizabeth Slater, Morris Pert, Christopher Fox and Edward Cowie. Woodley's deep-rooted fascination for the basset horn, inspired by Lutyens, drove him to rediscover the world of British musical modernism, revealing its complexities and dynamics, shedding light on the lesser-known gems of British music and offering a glimpse into the evolution of British music.

Gary Bertini - The SWR Recordings
Radio-Sinfonie-Orchester Stuttgart des SWR, Ileana Cotrubas, Glenda Maurice, Südfunk-Chor / Gary Bertini
SWR Classic SWR19139CD (5 CDs)
Release: 12 January 2024
This collection commemorates the long-standing cooperation between conductor Gary Bertini, who was born in today's Moldova, and the SWR Radio Symphony Orchestra Stuttgart, which began in 1978 with Hector Berlioz's Symphonie fantastique. Their final recording featured also on this box set was the 1996 performance of Mozart's Symphony No 40 in G minor in Tokyo. Bertini conducted several Israeli orchestras for many years before subsequently moving to Germany and Japan (the Tokyo Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra). During his lifetime he did not always earn the respect he deserved because he did not play the part of the glamourous conductor that was the accepted stereotype. But as time went by his aim to be faithful to the composer's intentions became widely appreciated.

Robert Schumann: Kresileriana Op 16; Modest Mussorgski: Pictures at an Exhibition
Robert Neumann
SWR Classic SWR19137CD
Release: 12 January 2024
For his second album on the SWR label Robert Neumann chose two works that are easily paired and are close to the pianist's heart. Robert Schumann's Kreisleriana depicts a character featured in several tales by E T A Hoffmann, while Modest Mussorgsky's Pictures at an Exhibition describes the contemplation of art works by the painter Viktor Hartmann. Both are examples of programme music with somewhat comparable ideas but, as Neumann puts it, 'One idea deals with a real character, the other one doesn't ... And I think both show in an exemplary manner how flawlessly and in different ways a great Romantic cycle can be structured.'

Jascha Heifetz: Recordings with the Los Angeles Philharmonic - Erich Wolfgang Korngold, Johannes Brahms, Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, Christian Sinding, Maurice Ravel, Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco
Jascha Heifetz, violin; Los Angeles Philharmonic / Alfred Wallenstein
Biddulph Recordings 85040-2
Release: 12 January 2024
In 1940, Jascha Heifetz moved to Southern California where he remained until his death in 1987. Focusing on Heifetz's recordings with the Los Angeles Philharmonic made in the early 1950s, the performances on this CD display the violinist in his absolute prime. Originally recorded with close miking, they capture every subtle nuance of the violinist's playing in vivid detail. Although Heifetz's playing is generally characterized by a driving intensity, he could express the most melting intimacy when necessary. The CD begins and ends with two twentieth-century violin concertos by Erich Wolfgang Korngold and Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco. Both were European emigrants who ended up - like Heifetz who was a close friend of both of them - in Los Angeles, where they composed many scores for the burgeoning Hollywood film industry. Among the other works included are the Norwegian composer Christian Sinding's Suite in ancient style (which Itzhak Perlman once singled out as one of his favourite Heifetz recordings, Brahms's Hungarian No 7 in A in Joachim's virtuosic transcription, Tchaikovsky's soulful Sérénade mélancolique and Maurice Ravel's scintillating gypsy-influenced Tzigane. Heifetz gives no holds barred renditions of all these works, performing with daring abandon throughout.

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Violin Concertos Nos 1-3
Robert Kwiatkowski, Polish Baltic Philharmonic Orchestra, Robert Kwiatkowski
CD Accord ACD329
Release: 12 January 2024
I have long been Mozart's faithful fan and propagator of his music, which I have performed at countless concerts in Poland and abroad. The present CD recording of his violin concertos is the crowning point of my efforts in this field to date ... The cadenzas recorded here are my own. I was persuaded to write them ... by the desire to fill a gap that I believe has emerged in this area. The cadenzas available in print, whether as collections in separate volumes or as an element imposed on performers by the editors of individual concertos, are - in my view - overly Romantic, frequently packed full of formidable technical problems, and, most importantly, disproportionately 'heavy' in their expression in relation to the concertos themselves ... My priorities in writing these cadenzas were as follows: a cadenza must not start with the main theme (...); it should be relatively concise, and represent a wide palette of frequently changing moods (...); it should apply technical and bowing solutions that were known and used at that time; most importantly, it must be comprehensively based on the melodic and rhythmic material of the individual movements of the given concerto.' - Robert Kwiatkowski

Joyce in Songs - Samuel Barber, Jósef Swider, Ben Moore, Wojciech Stepien, Marta Kleszcz, James Joyce, Edmund J Pendleton
Maciej Bartczak, Stanislaw Bromboszcz
CD Accord ACD310
Release: 12 January 2024
James Joyce was born on 2 February 1882 in Dublin. His mother, Mary Jane, came from a family with keen musical interest and for fourteen years had studied singing and piano in a Dublin school for girls, while his father, John Stanislaus, in his student days had devoted much of his time to dramatic performances where he liked to demonstrate his singing skills, something he gladly did to the end of his life. As Eileen Vance, Joyce's young playmate, recalled, in the Joyces' household in Bray (just outside Dublin) she often heard May accompany John as he sang opera arias, Thomas Moore's Irish Melodies, and other popular songs and ballads. The children also participated in the singing (James was the oldest of ten siblings), and the voice of the six-year-old future writer was already good enough to allow him to participate with his parents in an amateur concert. However, he never became an accomplished pianist, although in the boarding school he took extracurricular piano lessons. As his friend C P Curran recalled, in later life Joyce accompanied his singing by playing the piano 'by ear', that is, by improvising in which he relied on a rudimentary knowledge of chord formation.

Christian Ferras Live, Vol 2 - Johannes Brahms, Pyotr I Tchaikovsky, Alban Berg, Camille Saint-Saëns, Wolfgang A Mozart
Christian Ferras, Pierre Barbizet, Boston Symphony Orchestra, Orchestre National de l'ORTF, Radiosinfonieorchester, Charles Munch, Eugen Jochum, Paul Kletzki
Doremi DHR-82234 (2 CDs)
Release: 12 January 2024
When Christian Ferras died at age forty-nine, his friend and colleague Yehudi Menuhin wrote that Ferras was 'possessed by music, immensely talented, and of both a generous and intense temperament'. Christian Ferras was one of the greatest violinists of the twentieth century. Born in 1933, he was a guest soloist of the Nice Symphony orchestra in 1942. In 1948 he won the First Prize at the International Scheveningen (Holland) Violin Competition and in 1949 won the top prize at the International Long-Thibaud Competition. Thereafter, he pursued a successful career as soloist with many of the world's leading orchestras and in recitals with his long time accompanist, pianist Pierre Barbizet. He recorded for EMI and from 1964 for DG where he recorded the four main repertoire violin concertos, Brahms, Sibelius, Beethoven and Tchaikovsky, with Herbert von Karajan and the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra. Fortunately, Christian Ferras left behind a rich recorded legacy which enables us to continue to enjoy his great artistry.

Christian Ferras Live, Vol 3 - Jean Sibelius, Joaquin Rodrigo, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Ludwig van Beethoven, Georges Enesco, Robert Schumann
Christian Ferras, Orchestre National de l'ORTF, Orchestre National de France, Scarlatti Orchestra, Pierre Barbizet, Zubin Mehta, Ataulfo Argenta, Pietro Argento
Doremi DHR-82256 (2 CDs)
Release: 12 January 2024

Ecoles de Paris - Paris pour Ecole - Jacques Ibert, Marcel Mihalovici, George Antheil, Simon Laks
Adele Bitter, Holger Groschopp, Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, Johannes Zurl
EDA Records EDA48 (Wergo)
Release: 12 January 2024
While art history defines as 'École de Paris' an art-historical phenomenon, ie a large group of visual artists of non-French origin, many of them of Eastern European and Jewish descent, who worked in the French capital in the first decades of the twentieth century, musicology and musical life in general still find it difficult to recognize as music-historical reality an 'Ècole de Paris' with the same complexity and seminal influence. On the occasion of the one hundredth anniversary of its first appearance in the musical context, the one hundredth anniversary of the world premiere of Stravinsky's seminal Octet and the one hundredth anniversary of George Antheil's arrival in Paris, the present recording takes the opportunity to scrutinize the term 'École de Paris' and to define it more clearly against the background of the enormous stylistic diversity of the various groups that came together in the Paris of the 1920s, their amicable interrelationships and reciprocal influences beyond the epochal break of 1939-45.

Krzysztof Meyer: Works for Violin and Piano; Two Solo Violin Sonatas
Kolja Lessing, Rainer Maria Klaas
EDA Records EDA49 (Wergo)
Release: 12 January 2024
Kolja Lessing dedicates this recording to Krzysztof Meyer on the occasion of the composer's eightieth birthday in 2023. Meyer, one of the most important Polish composers of his generation, taught for many years as professor of composition at the Cologne College of Music and numbers among the important bridge-builders between Polish and German cultural life. As a pupil of Krzysztof Penderecki and Nadia Boulanger, he remarkably manages to integrate important communicative elements into an avant-garde musical language of great suggestive power and narrative charm. In the works written over a period of more than forty years, Meyer proves himself to be an expert with profound knowledge of the technical possibilities of the violin. Kolja Lessing and Rainer Maria Klaas's interpretations, developed with the composer, captivate by means of their authenticity, by dint of their deep understanding of a music that is both expressive and euphonious, and through which a distinguished, deeply humanistic personality speaks.

Niccolò Castiglioni: Complete Piano Works, Vol 2
Aldo Orvieto
Grand Piano GP863
Release: 12 January 2024
Niccolò Castiglioni's music has at its heart a quest for different timbres and new musical perspectives. After the neo-Classical exercises of his student years he moved towards serial techniques with explorations of contrast and transformation. Castiglioni made his name with Inizio di movimento, consolidating this with Cangianti in which the piano becomes a 'lyrical instrument of the most tender poetry'. The award-winning Italian pianist Aldo Orvieto continues his survey of piano works by one of Italy's most unique twentieth century composers.


5 JANUARY 2024

Byrd: Sacred Works
The Saint Thomas Choir of Men and Boys, Fifth Avenue, New York (cond. Gerre Hancock), Jeremy Filsell
Signum Classics SIGCD776
Release: 5 January 2024
This is a recreation of the Catholic Mass for the Feast of Corpus Christi as Byrd might have experienced it in the late sixteenth century. It includes various Latin motets written by Byrd for the feast, along with the remarkable Mass setting in four parts. The recording of Byrd's Great Service, conducted by Gerre Hancock, was issued in 1981. The Saint Thomas Choir of Men and Boys, Fifth Avenue, New York, is the leading ensemble of its kind in the US Anglican tradition. As well as having toured the US, the Choir has performed all over Europe, including at Westminster Abbey and the Vatican.

Igor Stravinsky: Violin Concerto; Scherzo à la russe; Apollon musagète; Orchestral Suites 1 & 2
James Ehnes, BBC Philharmonic / Andrew Davis
Chandos Records CHSA5340 (hybrid SACD)
Release: 5 January 2024
One of the foremost musicians of his generation, James Ehnes continues to dazzle audiences around the world. Here he joins the BBC Philharmonic and Sir Andrew Davis in a recording of Stravinsky's Violin Concerto. Written for the Polish virtuoso Samuel Dushkin, the four-movement work takes the music of Bach as its inspiration, and is built around a chord of the notes D, E, and A, which Stravinsky described as his 'passport to the concerto' and with which the solo violin part opens each movement. Dushkin gave the première, conducted by Stravinsky, in Berlin in 1932. Apollon musagète, a ballet in two parts for string orchestra, was written in 1927 - 28, and demonstrates the composer's complete rejection of the Russian folk music and idioms that had been so instrumental in his previous ballets (The Firebird, Petrushka). They are replaced by a concentration on 'pure form', which became known as his neo-classical style. The album is completed by his two orchestral suites - light-hearted music arranged from piano duets he had written in the 1910s - and Scherzo à la russe, a showpiece for the Paul Whiteman band that he composed in the early 1940s when newly arrived in California.

Firsova: Piano Concerto
Yefim Bronfman; RCO / Jakub Hrůša
Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra (Digital EP)
Release: 5 January 2024
Co-commissioned by the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Elena Firsova wrote her Piano Concerto in 2020. This is the first recording of the work, featuring pianist Yefim Bronfman.

Giacomo Puccini: I Canti - Orchestral Songs & Works
Charles Castronovo, Muenchner Rundfunkorchester / Ivan Repušić
BR Klassik 900349 (CD, also on LP, 900348)
Release: 5 January 2024
Giacomo Puccini wrote only a few works for voice with piano accompaniment. Eleven songs were published during his lifetime; others remained lost for over a century. In 2010, a first critical edition of the total of sixteen vocal compositions was presented. Several of them are closely related to Puccini's operas and had already been written during his studies in Milan. It was this edition that inspired Johannes X. Schachtner to arrange the piano score-like accompaniments for orchestra. In early February 2023, the US tenor Charles Castronovo sang these sixteen songs for the first time together with the Münchner Rundfunkorchester conducted by Ivan Repušić. Charles Castronovo has worked with the Münchner Rundfunkorchester ever since a concert performance of Mozart's La clemenza di Tito in 2006. In the 2023/24 season, he returned to Munich as the orchestra's 'Artist in Residence'.

Anton Bruckner: Symphony No 7
Symphonieorchester Des Bayerischen Rundfunks, Bernard Haitink
BR Klassik 900218
Release: 5 January 2024
Dutch conductor Bernard Haitink and the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra enjoyed a long and intensive artistic collaboration, which came to an abrupt end with Haitink's death in October 2021. BR-KLASSIK now presents outstanding and previously unreleased live recordings of concerts from past years. This recording of Bruckner's Seventh Symphony documents concerts given in November 1981 at the Herkulessaal of the Munich Residenz. Haitink first conducted a Munich subscription concert in 1958, and from then on was a regular guest with the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra - either at the Herkulessaal of the Residenz or at the Philharmonie im Gasteig. This congenial collaboration lasted more than six decades. The orchestra musicians and singers enjoyed working with him just as much as the BR sound engineers. As an interpreter of the symphonic repertoire, and especially that of the German-Austrian Late Romantic period, Haitink was held in high esteem throughout the world. With him, the symphonies of Anton Bruckner were always in the best of hands. His driving principle was to make the sound architecture of a musical composition, with its complex interweaving, transparently audible; extreme sensitivity of sound was combined with a clearly structured interpretation of the score.

Barbara Strozzi: Listen, Lovers! - An audiobiography in German
Udo Wachtveitl, Wiebke Puls, Thomas Albus, Christoph Jablonka, Folkert Duecker, Jerzy May, Katja Schild, Emma Kirkby, Jacob Lindberg
BR Klassik 900938
Release: 5 January 2024
A young female singer in seventeenth-century Venice: she is virtuoso, attractive and extremely charming, and the gentlemen of her select audience are at her feet. They call her the 'Singing Venus'. But Barbara Strozzi wants more: she regularly publishes her compositions - more than any woman before her. The new BR-KLASSIK audio biography tells her story. Until the twentieth century, female composers had a hard time in a male-dominated art. And in historiography for even longer: it was not until 1978 that a female American musicologist published the first specialist article on Barbara Strozzi. Today, it is generally accepted that she is one of the most important voices in the history of vocal chamber music. The exuberance of Carnival, the development of the fledgling art of opera, and Venice - the 'città galante'- are all linked to the phenomenon of 'Barbara Strozzi' and her art. Listeners unfamiliar with this music are invited to rediscover lost treasures - and to get to know one of the great women of music history. Wiebke Puls, an actress at the Münchner Kammerspiele and a singer herself, lends her voice to Barbara Strozzi.

Miklós Rózsa: Overture to a Symphony Concert; Hungarian Serenade; Tripartita
Deutsche Staatsphilharmonie Rheinland-Pfalz / Gregor Bühl
Capriccio C5514
Release: 5 January 2024
Miklós Rózsa feared that success as a film composer might overshadow his reputation as a composer of classical concert fare. He was right. Three Oscars and 17 Academy Award nominations tends to do that. The two worlds were strangely incompatible and forced Rózsa into what he called his 'Double Life' - the title of both a film for which he won an Oscar and that of his autobiography. The three orchestral works presented here, from his early, middle and late phases, provide a charming introduction to his alternative side.

Anton Bruckner: Symphony No 1 (1868 Version)
Bruckner Orchester Linz / Markus Poschner
Capriccio C8092
Release: 5 January 2024
This Complete Bruckner Symphonies Edition includes all versions of the symphonies either published or to be published under the auspices of the Austrian National Library and the International Bruckner Society in the Neue Anton Bruckner Gesamtausgabe ('The New Anton Bruckner Complete Edition'). Bruckner himself reckoned that his career as a professional composer began when he was thirty-nine. With only an exercise for a symphony under his belt - the unnumbered F minor - he was now ready to write his first true symphony. The world, however, was not ready to receive it. First performed, badly, in 1868 in Linz, the work flopped and was put aside until nine years and five symphonies later, when it was gently reworked. A subsequent performance in 1884 was Bruckner's 'most successful Viennese performance to date', which perplexingly led to a thorough revision that would become the 1891 'Vienna' version. This recording uses the original 1868 'Linz' version.

Dependent Arising - Dmitri Shostakovich, Earl Maneein
Rachel Barton Pine, violin; Royal Scottish National Orchestra / Tito Muñoz
Cedille Records CDR90000223
Release: 5 January 2024
Violinist Rachel Barton Pine's 26th recording for Cedille Records, Dependent Arising, reveals surprising confluences between classical and heavy metal music by pairing Shostakovich's Violin Concerto No 1 in A minor, Op 77 with Earl Maneein's 'Dependent Arising' — Concerto for Violin and Orchestra, performed with the Royal Scottish National Or- chestra under the baton of Tito Muñoz.. Known for her virtuosity, expressive playing, and extensive repertoire, Pine discovered her love for heavy metal as a teenager, and later performed at rock radio stations where she would intersperse covers of songs by Black Sabbath, AC/DC, and Metallica with works by Paganini and Ysaÿe. The album explores connections between modern classical music and heavy metal and showcases Pine's unique jour-ney with these two seemingly disparate genres.

Between Breaths - Mizzy Mazzoli, Third Coast Percussion, Tyondai Braxton, Ayanna Woods, Gemma Peacocke
Third Coast Percussion
Cedille Records CDR90000224
Release: 5 January 2024
Grammy Award-winning Chicago-based percussion quartet Third Coast Percussion (Sean Connors, Robert Dillon, Peter Martin, David Skidmore) presents Between Breaths, an album of world premieres of works by four contemporary com- posers, plus a work by the quartet itself. TCP is known for its captivating performances and innovative approach to modern classical music. Between Breaths, a follow up to TCP's widely praised 2022 album, Perspec ives, 'continues to push percussion in new directions, blurring musical boundaries and beguiling new listeners' (NPR). The works on Between Breaths explore aspects of meditation in sound, incorporate unconventional timbres and tones, and invite listeners to lose themselves within a captivating sonic landscape.

Georg Philipp Telemann: A Christmas Oratorio
Veronika Winter, Anne Bierwirth, Georg Poplutz, Matthias Vieweg, Soloists of the Rheinische Kantorei, Das Kleine Konzert / Hermann Max
CPO 555605-2
Release: 5 January 2024
Georg Philipp Telemann has left to posterity a body of work of an almost bewildering diversity. Hermann Max, the director of the Rheinische Kantorei/Kleines Konzert, presents five previously unknown and unpublished cantatas from Telemann's time in Hamburg and Frankfurt. These have been combined to create a Christmas Oratorio, which covers the holidays from birth to Epiphany - a hypothetical piece to be fair, but there is historical precedent for this and the results heard here speak for themselves. These musical rediscoveries are pure Telemann. Each cantata and as a result the entire oratorio displays a consistently operatic attitude featuring dramatic recitatives, dialogue scenes, arias and choruses. The latter are not limited to their traditional, reflective role but create a lively event, transforming the church into a sublime stage, reaffirming the faith of all those gathered within.

Michael Haydn: Die Ahrenleserin; Ninfe inbelli
Monika Mauch, Maria Ladurner, Jakob Mitterrutzner, Sascha Zarrabi, Marianna Herzig, Christian Havel, Jole de Baerdemaeker, Katharina Böhme, Salzburger Hofmusik / Wolfgang Brunner
CPO 555343-2
Release: 5 January 2024
Once again, Wolfgang Brunner and his Salzburg Hofmusik have unearthed a music-dramatic work by Michael Haydn: the Singspiel 'Die Ährenleserin' was written in 1778 for the Benedictine monastery theater of Kremsmünster, based on a libretto by the librettist Christian Felix Weiße. The story is simple and touching: Emilie is picking up ears of corn from the ground and is accosted by Krums, the overseer of Herr Mildenau, who accuses her of stealing grain. Mr Mildenau's two children, Franz and Henriette, come along and take the poor girl Emilie's side: she has an honest and noble face. Herr von Mildenau joins them, and in conversation with Emilie it turns out that she is the daughter of his best friend, who had been killed in the war, and that he can finally, now vicariously, make amends to her. He takes Emilie and her mother into his home. Michael Haydn's commissioned composition 'Ninfe inbelli', also written for an Upper Austrian Benedictine monastery, is of a completely different character and high compositional stature. On 19 January 1765, Princess Josepha of Bavaria stayed overnight at Lambach Abbey on her way from Munich to Vienna and was honoured with a cantata of homage.

Carl Maria von Weber, Bernhard Crusell, Olav Berg: Bassoon Concertos
Dag Jensen, Kammerakademie Potsdam
CPO 555576-2
Release: 5 January 2024
The bassoon is generally regarded as the court jester among the sound-makers. It can cluck, reluctantly snarl or strike up a bassy aria in the lowest basement and in the next moment crow at breathtaking heights. Its lyricism is enchanting, and it can sing as a serious narrator of poignant stories. Dag Jensen presents the bassoon in all its many moods and characters. Two early Romantic classics from Germany and Finland fit well to the work of Norwegian composer Olav Berg (born 1949), who wrote his new opus expressly for this recording - just as Carl Maria von Weber and Bernhard Henrik Crusell once wrote their concertos, because the virtuosos who wanted to take their pieces with them on tour were already waiting with packed bags. There is of course no trace of this felt on these recordings, but what we can see from beginning to end is a common use of staging where the protagonist can pull out all the stops - at times comical, melancholic, gregarious or in lonely contemplation ...

Ignaz Paderewski: Manru (Original version in German)
Thomas Mohr, Romelia Lichtenstein, Gabriella Guilfoil, Levent Bakirci, Franziska Krötenheerdt, Chor der Oper Halle, Staatskapelle Halle, Michael Wendeberg
CPO 555553-2 (2 CDs)
Release: 5 January 2024
We know Ignaz Jan Paderewski (1860-1941) as a legendary pianist, probably also as the first president of the newly founded state of Poland in 1918 - and we have certainly heard that he left behind a not insignificant compositional œuvre: In particular, his Piano Concerto in A minor and the Symphony in B minor 'Polonia' have deservedly made it to recording honors. A similar one-off to these works is the opera Manru, which was premiered at the Dresden Semper Opera on 29 May 1901, and met with triumphant success. Some 120 years later, on 19 March 2022, the 'Gypsy drama' was brought out again for the first time in the original German language at the Halle Opera House, and it turned out that not only the tragedy arising from ethnic conflicts, but above all Paderewski's music has lost none of its former appeal: The original layout of the three-act work, the successful examination of Richard Wagner's legacy, and the spirited diction influenced by native folk music result in a synthesis that is still able to immediately captivate today. It is not without reason that the Halle Opera production was awarded the FAUST Perspective Prize in the fall of 2022.

Gustave Adolphe Kerker: The Belle of New York
Uwe Tobias Hieronimi, Julian Rohde, Robyn Allegra Parton, Neele Kramer, Kathrin Finja Meier, tfn_opernchor, tfn_philharmonie / Florian Ziemen
CPO 777189-2 (2 CDs)
Release: 5 January 2024
Gustave Adolphe Kerker once said that the most difficult thing about writing an operetta is to come up with a catchy title. He was not entirely serious, but the notion is not so far-fetched, for those who have to make an effort to invent melodies have no business being in light entertainment. He was born in 1854 in Herford, Germany and his parents brought him with them to the USA at the age of ten. Kerker rose to become of the most renowned personalities on Broadway. He was a paragon of ideas, which would only work if they were combined to form a turbulent story. Case in point - The Belle of New York (1897), which was received there quite tepidly, conquered London's West End with just under seven hundred performances. It became a model for musical comedy and still is to this day. Performances of the Belle of New York are met with enthusiastic applause, each time turning the Theater für Niedersachsen into a Broadway theatre.

Josef Martin Kraus: Overtures
Theresia Orchestra / Claudio Astronio
CPO 555579-2
Release: 5 January 2024
For the Swedish conductor Joseph Martin Kraus, the overture played an important role in his own stage compositions. From a young age he had been fascinated by the theater and especially by opera. The great idol of the young German, who made a career in Stockholm, was Christoph Willibald Gluck, whose main concern was that dramatic works should be both logical and emotional. The opera Aeneas i Cartago, written in 1790, occupies the most important place in the composer's oeuvre; for this opera alone he wrote three extended and dramatic orchestral introductions, which are among Krauss's latest pieces. For Kraus, the overture was an integral part of the rest of the work - whether that work was dramatic or comic in nature. His overtures provide the key to the dramaturgical content of the main pieces, whether they were intended for the stage or the concert hall. With the Ensemble Theresia, cpo plans to record Krauss' complete symphonic works in the coming years.

Franz Benda: Sonatas & Capriccios
Evgeny Sviridov, Ludus Instrumentalis
CPO 555610-2
Release: 5 January 2024
In the summer of 2010, a Russian violinist by the name of Evgeny Sviridov participated in the Leipzig Bach Competition. And he went home as a winner - much to the surprise of his teacher in St. Petersburg, who knew nothing about it. One year later, the young man's debut CD featuring works by Johann Sebastian Bach and Heinrich Ignaz Franz Biber was released, and critics were speechless, for he played 'so refreshingly, full of life and breath, as if he had just written this music himself'. His latest recording for cpo is dedicated to the Bohemian composer and violinist Franz Benda who came from a very modest background to make a career at the court of Frederick II of Prussia. And we realise once again that Sviridov does not like old, dusty ideas. Already after a few bars, the leader of Concerto Köln lets us know that music is indeed an overwhelming narrative of sound, thus saving us from reading many clever books on the subject ...

Francesco Geminiani: Sonatas for Cello & Basso Continuo, Op 5 Nos 1-6
Kristin von der Goltz, Hille Perl, Andreas Küppers, Christoph Dangel, Thomas Boysen
CPO 555402-2
Release: 5 January 2024
If one believes the few testimonies that free the life story of the Italian composer Francesco Geminiani (1687-1762) from its historical semi-darkness, then he must have been a true jack-of-all-trades, a spring chicken and a jack of all trades - a musician who was unassimilated by the standards of his time and who did not make things easy for his contemporaries. Later often labelled with the carelessly given epithet 'minor master', some of the works of this enterprising and imaginative Italian prove to be extremely fascinating facets in the great musical puzzle that we call 'Baroque'. These include several collections of sparkling concerti grossi, various publications of sonatas for violin, and the Opus 5 presented here, with six cello sonatas dedicated by their author to none other than the then Prince of Wales. This was undoubtedly a clever move, since His Royal Highness had fallen out with his parents - George II and Caroline - to such an extent that even the music of George Frideric Handel, who was highly esteemed at court, was not appreciated in the household of the heir to the throne. Whether and how Prince Frederick Louis made an effort to obtain Geminiani's Opus 5 is unknown; that he could have taken great pleasure in the six pieces is revealed by the present recording.

French Organ Music from the Golden Age, Vol 8 - Gaspard Corrette, Jean-François Dandrieu
David Ponsford
Nimbus Alliance NI6438
Release: 5 January 2024
David Ponsford is an organist, harpsichordist, musicologist and conductor, and an authority on keyboard music of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. He was extremely fortunate to be able to study organ with Peter Hurford, Lionel Rogg and Piet Kee, and harpsichord with Kenneth Gilbert and Gustav Leonhardt. Since 2021, he has taught organ and harpsichord & organ continuo at the Royal Academy of Music, London. The present CD is volume 8 in the series 'French Organ Music from the Golden Age', performed by David Ponsford on French historic organs. This eight disc series emerged from David Ponsford's seminal book French Organ Music in the Reign of Louis XIV (Cambridge University Press, ISBN: 9781316620748).

Franz Schubert: Piano Works, Vol 7 - Impromptus; Moments Musicaux; Adagio & Rondo; 'Grazer' fantasie; Variations
Vladimir Feltsman
Nimbus Alliance NI6442 (2 CDs)
Release: 5 January 2024
In his music, if not in his life, Schubert was able to reconcile his innermost longings with the realities of life, to overcome the fear of death and restore the 'lost paradise' of innocence and beauty. Very few artists have expressed their inner world, their vision of heaven, with such lucidity and conviction. Schubert composed a n incredible amount of music during the last year of his life, as if knowing that he was running out of time. These works represent the pinnacle of his creativity, summing up his exploration of different musical forms, genres, and manner of writing. Among his finest compositions from this period are two sets of Impromptus and the Musical Moments that are included in this recording. Vladimir Feltsman is one of the most versatile and constantly interesting musicians of our time. His vast repertoire encompasses music from the Baroque to twentieth century composers. A regular guest soloist with leading symphony orchestras in the United States and abroad, he appears in the most prestigious concert series and music festivals all over the world.

Oscar Fernândez Piano Music
Martin Jones
Nimbus Records NI8115
Release: 5 January 2024
Fernândez' work can be divided into three periods, the first (1918-22) is influenced by French Impressionism, the second (1923-38) is marked by the systematic use of folklore, particularly amerindian rhythms and harmonies, rather than 'popular' urban melodies. Finally (1939-48) was a period of increasing introspection and the development of a more universally recognised language. [© Adrian Farmer] Martin Jones has been one of Britain's most highly regarded solo pianists since first coming to international attention in 1968 when he received the Dame Myra Hess Award. The same year he made his London debut at the Queen Elizabeth Hall and his New York debut at Carnegie Hall, and ever since has been in demand for recitals and concerto performances. He has made over ninety recordings with Nimbus Records exploring music that is not often played including the complete works of eighteen composers.

Johann Sebastian Bach: Six Sonatas, BWV 1014-1019
Sirkka-Liisa Kaakinen-Pilch, Tuija Hakkila
Ondine ODE1446-2D (2 CDs)
Release: 5 January 2024
All but the last of Johann Sebastian Bach's six sonatas for violin and harpsichord (BWV 1014-19) commence with slow movements of intense feeling. This is music of implication and inference, the emotions no less real for their apparent lack of specificity. There is pleasure in the paradox: even without a text, the music sings. The copying and the performance of these sonatas were crucial to the mission of memorialising Bach's music, but not merely as a matter of historical interest or archival fastidiousness. C P E Bach described these works as among the best works of his 'dear departed father': they still sound very good and give me much joy, although they date back more than fifty years. They contain some Adagios that could not be written in a more singable manner today.' C P E Bach's well-worn copy of the Sonatas shows that he played them frequently. In this recording, Tuija Hakkila plays a copy of a Gottfried Silbermann 1747 fortepiano by Andrea Restelli. J S Bach played one of his fortepianos in 1747 in Potsdam for Frederick the Great and his court musicians. In his last years Bach even seems to have served as a dealer for Silbermann's fortepianos in Leipzig.

Chopin Project
Tomasz Daroch, Wojciech Fudala, Krzysztof Karpeta, Adam Krzeszowiec
CD Accord ACD326
Release: 5 January 2024
This album includes transcriptions of works by a composer close to our hearts. We have always wanted to hear Fryderyk Chopin's piano music in a cello version, arrangements by Auguste Franchomme's and recordings by the vocal quartet Novi Singers being our inspirations. We feel that the extraordinarily singing and emotive character distinguishes Chopin's music in a very special way. As the cello idiom is similar to human voice, we dared realise this project - one of the craziest and most original in our careers. Work on Chopin's repertoire was a wonderful artistic adventure for us. We share its results with joy. Enjoy!

Eva Slongo - Souffle - Eva Slongo, Gabriel Fauré, Ludwig van Beethoven, Rodrigue Vera Ortiz, Erik Satie
Eva Slongo, Giovanni Mirabassi, Francois Moutin, Lukmil Perez, Baptiste Herbin
Continuo Classics CC777740
Release: 5 January 2024
After a challenging classical course, Eva Slongo, through jazz improvisation, finally found a salutary freedom of expression. Like a new 'Breath', title of the album, whose challenge was to bring together these two totally different musical universes that are jazz and classical music. Two worlds which have successively deeply imbued the personality of the artist. A quest for both musical and personal authenticity: a reconciliation between past and present. An essential return to basics coupled with a life mission: to make classical musicians aware of the joys of improvisation offered by jazz. At the heart of this album are compositions by Eva Slongo and covers of masterpieces by Beethoven, Erik Satie and Gabriel Fauré. With his elegant touch of velvet, Giovanni Mirabassi perfectly knew how to capture the subtlety of this musical alloy and ensured its artistic direction. He brought together around Eva these great jazzmen always eager to think outside the box: Baptiste Herbin, Francois Moutin and Lukmil Perez.

Ysaÿe & Primrose - Inedits pour violon et alto
Dejan Bogdanovic, Pierre-Henri Xuereb, Gerhardt Läufner, Gabriele Vianello
Continuo Classics CC777745
Release: 5 January 2024
The Eugène Ysaÿe fund has existed since 1977 thanks to successive purchases and a donation from the family dating from 2007 and includes more than a thousand printed scores and 161 autograph scores. Several handwritten scores at the origin of this recording - some world premieres - come from this Ysaÿe collection, and especially from the rich library of the Royal Conservatory of Music of Liège.

Mieko Miyazaki: Sky & Road
Mieko Miyazaki, Ludovic Thilly, Pierre Maestra, Sarah Teboul, Alban Lebrun
Continuo Classics CC777749
Release: 5 January 2024
'Yves Bonnefoy evoked "this sound that unites, when words divide". In this love at first sight between Mieko Miyazaki, a Japanese musician who has been exploring with the complicity of her koto and for three decades the virgin lands of the infinite world of the sensitive, and the Yako Quartet, a fiery young ensemble which has kept its solid classical formation in France an insatiable appetite for research and discovery, the verb is not central. The distinct mother tongues, at first glance barriers to common progress in the heart of things, immediately impose on the quintet a crossing through music, giving back to the word 'interbreeding' its first meaning: fruitful union. For each of the five protagonists of this veritable attack on gloom, the cards are thus redistributed; of the pentatonism to which the koto is usually devoted - in its role as a traditional instrument - only subtle evocations remain. Melodies, rhythms and harmonic flavors run through the voices of the quartet, shaking up their classical organization. The result is a lively succession of unexpected soundtracks, in the service of a discourse that is sometimes wild, sometimes dreamy, always resolutely optimistic.' - David Sprague

J P E Hartmann: Piano Works
Thomas Trondhjem
Danacord DACOCD968
Release: 5 January 2024
Volume 5 of the complete piano music by the leading Danish Romantic composer Hartmann. He was born 1805 and lived nearly a hundred years. During his time he was the most influential composer in Denmark and wrote beautiful music for solo piano. Here Danish pianist Thomas Trondhjem has reached the fifth volume in this enterprising series.

Ludwig van Beethoven: The Late Piano Sonatas
Emil Gryesten
Danacord DACOCD973 (2 CDs)
Release: 5 January 2024
Danish pianist Emil Gryesten is a graduate of the Sibelius Academy in Finland and the Como International Piano Academy in Italy, in addition to having studied at the Royal Danish Academy of Music in his native Denmark. His notable teachers include Niklas Sivelöv, Erik T. Tawaststjerna and Eero Heinonen, as well as his teacher at the Como International Piano Academu, Fou Ts ́ong, Dmitri Bashkirov and Willaim Gran Naboré. He has received awards at a number of competitions of your pianists, including the First Prize at the Hamburg Steinway Conpetion. He has recorded an album with Schubert sonatas and the Liszt sonata for Danacord. His latest release are the three Grieg violin sonatas with Benedikte Damgaard received critical acclaim.

Metamorphosis - René Kuwan, Edward Elgar, Michael Rea Catranis, Martín Donoso Vera
Duo Amabile
Genuin Classics GEN24855
Release: 5 January 2024
Metamorphoses: this is what Duo Amabile is in search of. In their concept album, Paula Breland, clarinet, and Anna-Katharina Schau, accordion, zoom into the processes of upheaval and new beginnings to offer their listeners transgressive listening experiences and to immerse themselves in a common 'liminal moment'. Featuring top-notch musical performances, this album combines works composed especially for the duo by René Kuwan, Michaela Rea Catranis and Marín Donoso Vera together with thematically appropriate movements from Edward Elgar's famous Enigma Variations. All the new works are presented here in first recordings.

Von Sehnsucht und Leidenschaft - Johannes Brahms, Jörg Widmann, Robert Schumann, Helmut Eisel
Lyuta Kobayashi, Julian Emanuel Becker
Genuin Classics GEN24856
Release: 5 January 2024
This year, Genuin and the German Music Council, together with Deutschlandfunk Kultur, are once again presenting a prizewinner of the German Music Competition: clarinetist Lyuta Kobayashi. Not only has he been successful in this competition, he has already won several prizes despite his young age. In his program of works by Johannes Brahms, Jörg Widmann, Robert Schumann, and the klezmer clarinetist Helmut Eisel, he will be accompanied by the no less talented pianist Julian Emanuel Becker, who this year was the youngest participant to win a prize at the 32nd St Albans International Organ Competition in the UK.

From Home with Love - Works by composers from Brazil, Slovenia and Germany - Heitor Villa-Lobos, Blaž Pucihar, Johannes Brahms, Urška Orešič, André Mehmari, Chiquinha Gonzaga
Katja Zakotnik, Nalia Alvarenga Lahmann
Genuin Classics GEN24859
Release: 5 January 2024
Two female musicians leave their home countries to establish themselves in foreign lands and take a musical retrospect. Katja Zakotnik and Naila Alvarenga Lahmann present music from Slovenia, Brazil and Germany. We embark with them on a highly emotional journey, traversing all the mountains and valleys that the multifaceted concept of 'home' entails. We encounter well-known composers such as Johannes Brahms and Heitor Villa-Lobos and new names such as Blaž Pucihar and André Mehmari. The compositions of the young Slovenian Urška Orešič - the first recording of her 'Little Diamonds' - and the Brazilian Chiquinha Gonzaga add variety to the CD and tempt us to look with interest at the feminine side of these countries' musical creations.

The Brodsky Album - Hinako Takagi, Pablo Ortiz, Andreas Pflüger, Joan Magrané, Paul Suits
Laurence Guillod, Pierre-Yves Pruvot, Zoia Sudnis, Joel Bardolet, Nathalie Gullung, Orchestre Musique des Lumières, Facundo Agudín
IBS Classical IBS102023
Release: 5 January 2024
The third protagonist of the series Music & Words by Facundo Agudín and Musique des Lumières, in collaboration with Ibs Classical, is the Russian-American writer of Jewish origin Joseph Brodsky (1940-1996), winner of the 1987 Nobel Prize. Musique des Lumières has commissioned six works from five composers from very different backgrounds who, inspired by Brodsky's texts, use music to honour this uncompromising intellectual and key figure in world literature. On The Brodsky Album, Facundo Agudín and Musique des Lumières present six works commissioned and composed between 2020 and 2022 of homogeneous aesthetics. In particular, the vocal delivery seems to reflect the immensity of the Russian's poetic lyricism. Two of them, Brodsky, Vivaldi and Stravinsky by Pablo Ortiz and Barcarolle oubliée by Joan Magrané fixate on one of the pinnacles of his literature: Watermark. A Song by Hinako Takagi values the polyphony and rhythm of his poetic language and, finally, The Saints and the Aint's by Paul Suits sets to music relevant physical and temporal spaces present in the work of the poet, essayist and translator who is considered one of the greatest literary figures of the Soviet era.

Johannes Brahms: Orchestral & Vocal Works
Orquesta y Coro Comunidad de Madrid, Agnieszka Rehlis, Marzena Diakun, Josep Vila i Casañas
IBS Classical IBS132023
Release: 5 January 2024
The Brahms vocal compositions (for their quality and abundance - over 400 of them) made Brahms a 'worthy heir to Beethoven' in Germany, throughout Europe, and finally in France, where Ravel was the first and one of the few to admire 'the beauty in his melodic ideas, their quality of expression and above all the brilliance of his orchestral language'. Schoenberg also later praised the innovation of his musical language in his Style and Idea. The excellence of Brahms' work was summed up by Joseph Joachim, the celebrated Hungarian violinist, composer and conductor who worked with Brahms, and who described his music as 'pure as a diamond, soft as the snow'. Schumann also praised the serenity and optimism of the tone with which Brahms ended his most sombre and tormented pieces: 'Over choppy waves finally a rainbow shimmers, as the nightingale's song accompanies the capricious flight of the butterfly'. This album compiles some of the most important vocal & orchestral works that best define the German composer.

Paraules - Iannis Xenakis, Salvatore Sciarrino, Edison Denisov, Silvia Borzelli, Polo Vallejo, Bruno Mantovani, Jesús Torres
Noè Rodrigo Gisbert, percussion
IBS Classical IBS142023
Release: 5 January 2024
Spanish percussionist Noè Rodrigo is one of the most talented musicians of his generation. Having performed all over Europe and the US at most major concert halls and festivals, he has premiered more than fifty pieces by composers of over twenty nationalities. His interpretations of the percussion 'classics' have been described by critics and audiences as highly virtuosic, technically impeccable and musically complex while featuring a large palette of colours. With Paraules (Words), Rodrigo brings to life seven works by essential composers of the twentieth century, Spanish music never before recorded alongside more recent pieces. Seventy minutes where the young artist is able to show a stunning versatility, embracing every aesthetic with intelligence and accuracy, aiming for unique interpretations. If in the beginning music was a verb, like singing, shortly after it became percussion: initially, doubling the prosody of the voice; later, introducing a growing range of rhythms and colours that have made it the most heterogeneous, surprising and multicultural of all the instrumental families.

Notre amour - Pieces for violoncello and piano - Ernest Bloch, Gabriel Fauré, César Franck, Germaine Tailleferre, Cécile Chaminade, Paul Juon
Isabel Gehweiler, Fiona Hengartner
Solo Musica SM449
Release: 5 January 2024
The tradition of bringing out New Year publications on 2 January 2, 'Berchtold's Day', goes back as far as the seventeenth century. Societies and guilds provided printed books, illustrations or music to the young people of the city in return for a financial contribution, which went towards the heating of the society rooms. Founded in 1629, the Stadtbibliothek initiated the practice by distributing a New Year engraving by Hans Conrad Meyer with a poem by Johann Wilhelm Simmler for the year 1645, founding this form of New Year offering. A 2005 CD of piano music by the Winterthur composer Johann Carl Eschmann marked the revival of the old tradition in a new guise. The New Year release CD 2024 brings together works by six composers, male and female, all of whom except one were born and trained in French-speaking countries. The cellist Isabel Gehweiler is a prizewinner of the European Bursary for Young Artists and as a composer she has produced a body of work encompassing chamber music and orchestral compositions, which are regularly performed at international festivals.

Zman - Peter Lindroth
Stefan Harg, Katarina Ström-Harg, The Martin Quartet, Mats Jansson, Cecilia Gelland, Annica DeVal, Anders Dahlstedt, Bo Pettersson
Sterling Records CDM3008
Release: 5 January 2024
'Music has to come from within and it must express as well as arouse thoughts and emotions ... At the end of the day being an artist should be about finding the voice that is your own, cultivate it and let it lead you wherever it's going.' - © Peter Lindroth. SQIII was planned to premiere in May 2021 but this did not go ahead due to the pandemic. The piece was to be resumed later that year but there was no quartet due to illness. To create this recording, remaining members Matts Eriksson and Ingrid Åkerblom with colleagues from Norrköping Symphony Orchestra, Mohamed Sharara and Manon Briau formed a temporary quartet for the concert which took place in 2022, and remains here on this recording. Violations was premiered by Cecilia Gelland in 2020 at the Västerăs Concert hall. For this piece, picture yourself looking into a room that has been closed for three hundred years. Through cobwebs and dust one can make out what is happening in there and yet it's out of reach. Flimba consists of six movements of varying length and has served as a building block for a number of Peter's works. It was premiered by Annica DeVal and Anders Dahlstedt in 2022 at the Norrköpingsljud festival.

Christoph Willibald Gluck Opera Arias
Elena De Simone, Ensemble Il Mosaico
Tactus TC710703
Release: 5 January 2024
This collection of arias from the operas Il Tigrane, Poro, La Sofonisba, L'Ippolito is a testimony of Christoph Willibald Gluck's opera activity from the year 1743 to 1745. The young thirty-year-old, now an established composer, wrote his operas for the most important events in the cities of Crema, Turin and Milan, almost without a break. The autographs of these arias no longer exist, nor the scores of the entire operas. Some pieces, sometimes with only basso continuo accompaniment, are all that remain of the enormous fortune that those performances had at the time. To be as faithful as possible to the original performance, arias with existing orchestral part have been chosen, except for the aria Se viver non poss'io from the opera Poro which was orchestrated from the basso continuo and some indication of the first violin motif, as complete scores of the opera Poro no longer exist. The curator of the work is Elena De Simone herself, a mezzo-soprano that - accompanied by the Il Mosaico ensemble - already distinguished herself with the rediscovery of the works by Hasse and Maria Teresa Agnesi.

Ferruccio Busoni: Sonatas for violin and piano
Nicola Bignami, Lucija Majstorovic
Tactus TC860203
Release: 5 January 2024
Ferruccio Busoni (Empoli 1866 - Berlin 1924) died the same year as Puccini and was born when Puccini was a child, yet he was way more than an opera composer. While he lived several years in Trieste and some time in Bologna, he mainly lived abroad and spent the second half of his life in Berlin. Way more than a composer, he was a wide-ranging artist and musician, an acclaimed concert pianist and sought-after piano teacher, a learned reviser of piano music, and the author of many and varied pieces. Busoni was also an aesthete, an intellectual, a music reformer, and author of texts on musical topics. A child prodigy, he wrote the Symphonische Suite for orchestra at the age of seventeen. Nicola Bignami and Lucija Majstorovic brilliantly face the arduous task of performing the two monumental and demanding sonatas for violin and piano that the composer wrote at twenty-four (first sonata) and at thirty-two (second sonata), in which the equal and dialogical relationship between the two instruments combines with a wealth of invention with respect for the great tradition.

9 Trio Sonatas - Arranged after the Sonatas Op 1 for Orchestra - Francesco Geminiani, Charles Avison
Capriccio Barockorchester / Dominik Kiefer
Tudor TUD7213
Release: 5 January 2024
In 1716 Geminiani self-published twelve Sonatas for Violin and Basso continuo Op 1 with a fulsome dedication to his patron Baron Johann Adolf von Kielmannsegg from Schleswig. Modelled on Corelli's Violin Sonatas Op 5, Geminiani's opus is in two sections: the first six basically follow Sonata da chiesa form, numbers 7 to 12 also have dance-like movements and differs from Corelli's Sonatas da camera. 1757 announced Geminiani his Opus 1 'with a Ripieno Bass to be used when the Violins are doubled'. This additional part suggests the two violin parts may be performed by several players, and underlines the concertante character. The two voices either double or paraphrase the original parts, or are entirely new versions. The Sonatas 4 and 7 are presented in the Concerto grosso arrangements by Charles Avison (1709-1770).

Dvořák Complete Works for Violin and Orchestra
Mikhail Pochekin, violin; Slovak Phulharmonic Orchestra / Daniel Raiskin
Hänssler Classic
Release: 5 January 2024


1 JANUARY 2024

Martinů: String Quartets
Stamic Quartet
Brilliant Classics 96902 (3 CDs)
Release: 1 January 2024
Long available only in a larger box, the only available digital-era set of Martinů's string quartets, recorded in 1990 by a native Czech ensemble. Martinů composed seven quartets over the course of his career, from the First in 1918 to the Seventh in 1947. This chronological range therefore mirrors the development of his music, from Debussy and Franck-accented Bohemianism in the First to a more up-to-date French influence on the Second from 1925, which arrives in the finale at the kind of chugging accumulations of motoric energy that became his trademark. The Third (1929) proceeds to refine and concentrate this style, still inflected with Czech folk rhythms, before the Fourth (1937) embarks on the project of spicy neoclassicism which lends Martinů's mid-period masterpieces such as the Fourth and Fifth symphonies their particular, ambiguous sense of industry. Indeed the Fifth Quartet of 1938 is a pivotal work in his huge and multifaceted oeuvre, unsettled, introspective and apparently shadowed by a secret affair with a pupil, whose song is quoted within the quartet. No 6 dates from 1946, written in Martinů's postwar exile in the US and yet optimistic where Bartok's Sixth in similar circumstances is a soul-searching affair. From a year later, the Seventh still retains a youthful, neoclassical vigour, and a Czech flavour to the melodies. This generously filled set concludes with the attractive 'Madrigals' Duo and the Second String Trio. The direct emotional appeal of all seven quartets is vividly brought to life by the Stamic Quartet in a recording first issued in 1990, and which still has very few rivals on disc. Established in 1985, the Stamic Quartet quickly became known as leading interpreter of Czech repertory.

Paradigma Medioevo; Music from 14th-century Italy
Aquila Altera
Brilliant Classics 96922
Release: 1 January 2024
Polyphonic 14th-century Italian secular music seems to emerge out of nowhere in the history of music. Nevertheless, this tradition - which often goes by the name Ars Nova - fits seamlessly into the history of Italian culture. Our knowledge of it has been pieced together from relatively few sources, which nevertheless reveal three distinct phases. In its first phase, Italian Ars Nova spread out from universities, including those of Padua and Bologna, which had strong links with the dominant and contemporaneous French Ars Nova. In the second phase, the centre of 14th-century Italian polyphony seems to shift markedly to Florence. The final phase, which bridged the late 1300s and early 1400s, shows the influence of intense cultural exchange brought about by an international circulation of musicians and poets caused by the political instability of the papacy's return from Avignon to Rome and the consequent heightened mobility among the various courts and their entourages. This phase is reflected in such sources as the renowned Squarcialupi Codex. Compiled in Florence around 1415, it contains over 350 compositions (madrigals, ballate and cacce) and is the source of the majority of the tracks on this album. Francesco Landini (c1325/35-1397) is represented by five of his 141 ballate and the virelai 'Adiu, adiu dous dame'. Also from the Codex are one ballata by Andrea da Firenze (c1350-1415) and two ballate and a caccia by Antonio Zacara da Teramo (1355-1416). Three instrumental tracks complete the album, two of them from the 'London' Manuscript (British Library) compiled in Florence, probably in Medici circles. In addition to mostly polyphonic music by Landini and other Florentine composers, this tome features several anonymous instrumental works including the lively dances 'Chominciamento di gioia' and 'Tre fontane'. The madrigal 'Aquila altera' has a different background entirely: the version presented here is the instrumental arrangement found in the Codex Faenza, a unique volum assembled in the early 15th century containing around 50 Italian and French polyphonic compositions for organ.

Mel Bonis: Complete Music for Flute & Piano
Mario Ancillotti, flute; Eliana Grasso, piano
Brilliant Classics 96927
Release: 1 January 2024
Mélanie Bonis was one of the most interesting and prolific composers in France in the twenty years before the First World War. Married in 1883 to the industrialist Édouard Domange, her duties as a housewife and mother distanced her from Parisian musical life yet did not consign her to silence: following her studies at the Paris Conservatoire she had mélodies and piano pieces issued by various publishers. Obsessed with striking a balance between music and family, she came to notoriety late, becoming the first woman on the board of the Society of Music Composers. Nevertheless, The Great War put an end to any further publication, with Bonis devoting herself to sacred music (for organ or voice) and pedagogical works. She left a large amount of unpublished material to posterity, however, which demonstrates a knowledge of compositional and orchestrational technique unfairly neglected in her lifetime. Christiane Geliot, her great-niece, has dedicated her life to rediscovering Mel Bonis's works, searching for manuscripts mislaid within her household and inviting celebrated instrumentalists to play and record her music. Bonis's talents found expression in many genres, and the piano was undoubtedly her favourite instrument. Nevertheless, in her chamber music scores the flute is often the protagonist, and in the flute repertoire, Bonis's chamber music output bridges the gap between Romanticism and Impressionism. In her Flute Sonata in C sharp minor Op 64, throughout four large-scale movements Bonis creates a post-romantic atmosphere full of poetry and light. The piano score, strongly influenced by Franck's use of the keyboard, requires exceptional virtuosity. The flute writing is very dense as well, and both instruments link and exchange motifs as if they were one. The Trois Mélodies, originally for soprano and piano, are arranged here for flute and piano, creating a passionate, if wordless, dialogue between the two instruments and challenging the flute to find an extensive tonal palette. The Scherzo (Final) Op 187 belongs to a lost manuscript, probably a Suite for flute and piano. The flute here plays a passionate melody over fast and pressing triplets in the piano part. Pièce Op 189 is another work rediscovered in recent years. Its beautiful melody is accompanied by slow piano chords, offering the flutist room to express varied sounds and colours. The Air Vaudois Op 108, reflecting the pastoral, bucolic nature of the Swiss canton, finds joy and leisure at a time when worries and hardships plagued the Bonis family due to the war. Une Flûte soupire Op 121 combines lyricism and colour contrasts in a more impressionistic style than the preceding works. The album closes with Andante et Allegro Op 133, her most avant-garde work in terms of harmonic choices and original development. The Andante's irregular phrases and long lines are met with the Allegro's rapid, low piano octave, growing in intensity towards a stormy finale.

Ludwig August Lebrun: Oboe Concertos
Nancy Ambrose King, oboe; Janáček Philharmonic Orchestra / Jeremy Swerling
Brilliant Classics 97009
Release: 1 January 2024
Classical-era oboe concertos, full of flourish and elegantly turned melodies in polished and critically praised recordings from 2000-2002. Ludwig August Lebrun (1752-1790) was an oboist by training, and the son of an oboist at the Mannheim court, Alexander Lebrun. Ludwig evidently wrote these concertos, and another ten in the same vein, in order to showcase his own abilities on an instrument which was evolving rapidly in terms of technical innovation (projecting further, with more reliable tone) and thus allowing for greater virtuosity on behalf of both composers and performers. There are four concertos here, and they all adhere to the standard three-movement form and belong to the idiom of the Mannheim school exemplified by the likes of Franz Danzi (1763-1826) (whose daughter Lebrun married) and Cannabich. There are delicate melodies as well as spectacular virtuosity in music filled with imagination, humour, and depth, not to mention the occasional unexpected turn of phrase. These are not miniature or insignificant pieces. The opening G minor piece is developed with the kind of pathos we associate with the key in the hands of Mozart, and after two F major concertos, the album concludes with a poignant and stern D minor concerto, punctuated by trumpet and drums, and enclosing a noble Grazioso slow movement where the oboe sings like an abandoned operatic heroine.

Couperin Dynasty - Harpsichord Music
Michael Borgstede, Yago Mahúgo, Massimo Berghella, Simone Pierini
Brilliant Classics 97051 (19 CDs)
Release: 1 January 2024
Admiration for the French composer, harpsichordist and organist, Louis Couperin continues to grow steadily today, but it was not so during his lifetime. The first important edition of his work in modern times, in its latest revision by Thurston Dart (used for this set), catalogues 129 pieces as authentic. Among these, the unmeasured Préludes stand out as a kind of 'controlled improvisation' in which the composer gives us a genre that began life in the hands of the lutenists and now finds itself at the very peak of seventeenth-century French harpsichord music. The rest of his music features dances typical of the suite form, including the Allemande, Courante, Sarabande, Gigue, Chaconne and Passacaille. Collectively, they help to place Couperin among the greatest composers of the seventeenth century alongside Frescobaldi, Chambonnieres, Froberger and D'Anglebert. Though he wrote religious works as well as chamber music, harpsichord music forms the lion's share of Louis's nephew François Couperin's output: 235 pieces in all, most of them published in the four volumes (or livres) of Pièces de Clavecin, divided into 27 ordres. Despite that designation, his first Livre, published in 1713, is hardly orderly. It seems Couperin simply grouped all the harpsichord music he had composed to that point into suites on the basis of keys in common. In four of the first five ordres of this Livre, dance forms such as the Allemande, Sarabande and Courante are interspersed amongst Pièces de Caractère composed in the popular stil luthé borrowed from the lute literature. Three years later, with the publication of the second Livre (1716), we meet a different Couperin. Here the relationship of the movements in each ordre is well thought out, and the style of the pieces strikes a balance between noble seriousness and joyous virtuosity. In the third Livre, Couperin definitively departs from the suite form: only the 17ème Ordre contains a dance, a lonely Courante. The tone of this book is tender and playful, exploiting the sonorities of the upper registers of the instrument. The fourth Livre, published in 1730, flows seamlessly on in the same vein, until the 25ème Ordre. Here the mood suddenly darkens. These final pieces - melancholic, exhausted, and perhaps slightly embittered - are the last works of a man who had no illusions about the finality of death. Like the better-known Jacques Duphly (1715-1789) and Claude Balbastre (1724-1799), Armand-Louis Couperin belongs to the last generation of French harpsichord composers. He was the only child of Nicolas Couperin, who four years earlier had been appointed to succeed his cousin François as titular organist at the Église Saint-Gervais, and Armand-Louis was raised to follow in his father's footsteps, doing so at the age of twenty-one when Nicolas died. The modesty and success which profited Armand-Louis handsomely during his lifetime rather dimmed the light of his creative legacy. As his obituary remarks: he published little. One of only a few opuses, the magnificent volume of Pièces de Clavecin for which he is best remembered deserves consideration alongside the Viol Fantazias of Henry Purcell (1659-1695) and the Lachrymae of Dowland, examples of lateness in music, where the fruit has ripened beyond high summer, yet there is much of interest in these pieces, beyond their historical value at the end of a distinguished family line. Armand-Louis's son, Gervais-François Couperin, studied with his father, then replaced him at the Sainte-Chapelle organ. He later succeeded his brother Pierre-Louis at Notre-Dame de Paris and held that post until the French Revolution. His keyboard compositions reveal a profound understanding of the delicate nuances and expressive capabilities of the harpsichord, characterized by elegance, refinement and meticulous attention to ornamentation. Yet Gervais-François was also a virtuoso on the new instrument of his day, the fortepiano, and this set features his music performed on that keyboard of greatly expanded expressivity.

Pedro de Araújo: Organ Music
Rui Fernando Soares, organ
Brilliant Classics 97076
Release: 1 January 2024
Pedro de Araújo (c1630-1707) is an important figure in Portuguese keyboard music of the late seventeenth century. His oeuvre consists of a total of thirteen keyboard works, one of them with merely attributed authorship. These have come down to us through two manuscript sources in Portuguese collections: the Livro de obras de Orgaõ juntas pella coriosidade de Fr Roque da Conceição, a source dated 1696, and the Livro de Obras de Órgão, a source compiled in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries and originating in the Bouro Monastery (Braga). De Araújo's output covers the genres that were in vogue in his day on the Iberian Peninsula (eg Batalha, Tento,
Meio Registo, Fantasia) and which constituted the traditional repertoire of Iberian keyboard players in the service of ecclesiastical institutions. The Batalha do 6º Tom and the [Susana] do 2º Tom hark back to the sixteenth century tradition of intabulating existing vocal works, the former based on the chanson 'La Guerre' by Clement Janequin, the latter on 'Susane un jour' by Orlando di Lasso, a famous vocal work throughout Europe and the target of many other composers' intabulations. The Phantasias, Obras and Tentos fall within the stylistic sphere of the tento (Spanish: tiento), an Iberian genre characterised by contrapuntal writing and multiple contrasting sections. In them de Araújo displays his
mastery at weaving contrapuntal lines and varying the thematic material. The Consonâncias de 1º Tom corresponds stylistically to a tento de falsas (Sp: tiento de falsas / It: durezze e ligature), with the work developing in a succession of dissonances. The Passo solto de 7º Tom is a work entirely in triple meter with a succession of iambic rhythms reminiscent of the vilancico style.

Tchaikovsky: Complete Symphonies
Russian National Orchestra / Mikhail Pletnev
Brilliant Classics 97083 (7 CDs)
Release: 1 January 2024
A modern, Russian-made cycle of Tchaikovsky in superb sound, led by one of today's most unpredictable and inspiring musicians. Made at a studio in Moscow in June 2010 and April 2011, originally issued in separate volumes, this is an orchestral cycle of Tchaikovsky to reckon with. Mikhail Pletnev founded the Russian National Orchestra in the years following the break-up of the USSR, and they rapidly won fame and an international following for the dynamic precision and attack of their performances, which bore the imprint of their mercurial leader. One of their earliest recordings was Tchaikovsky's Pathétique Symphony, later remade for DG as part of a cycle, and then once more within the present set. Thus this music runs in the orchestra's blood, but there is no danger of routine or staleness in their performances when Pletnev is on the podium. His approach is remarkably attuned to the period and manners of Tchaikovsky's time, always neat and graceful in the scherzos and the early symphonies, never overlaid with bombast or excess weight in the manner of many postwar recordings. The bonuses to the canonic cycle of six symphonies: first and foremost the Manfred Symphony in its original, best and uncut version. Then the major symphonic poems such as Romeo and Juliet and Francesca da Rimini, with their dramatic narratives held taut by Pletnev's phrasing. The coupling for the Second Symphony, which famously quotes Ukrainian melodies throughout and especially in the joyous finale, is a rare chance to hear the first draft of the opening movement, which was cast on a much more expansive scale.

Giovanni Hoffmann: Mandolin Quartets
Federico Maddaluno, mandolin; Alberto Marano, violin; Myriam Traverso, viola; Alessandro Parfitt, cello
Brilliant Classics 97117
Release: 1 January 2024
There is still much we do not know about the veritable mandolin-mania of late eighteenth-century Europe, particularly Vienna, which in that period was home to the three greatest musicians of the Classical period: Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven. The instrument certainly enjoyed dazzling success in Viennese musical circles, embraced by the cultured aristocrats who resided in the Habsburg capital, and its meteoric rise was supported by some extraordinary virtuosi who helped promote its high-quality and fast-growing repertoire. Giovanni Hoffmann's refined chamber music featuring the mandolin was warmly received among the Viennese elite, making him one of the foremost figures behind the burgeoning mandolin repertoire of late eighteenth-century Vienna. Very little is known about his life; the Italianate first name alongside a clearly central-European surname adds to the mystery shrouding his birthplace and sphere of education. Hoffmann was both a mandolin virtuoso and an esteemed composer. In 1799, the music merchant Johann Traeg advertised a list of the mandolin scores available to purchase from his shop on Vienna's Singerstraße. It included a Trio for mandolin & bass by Hoffmann, and that same year, the composer released a further number of manuscript works through Traeg including his Quartets for mandolin, violin, viola & cello and Serenatas for mandolin & viola. Hoffmann's work is recorded again in Austria in the early decades of the nineteenth century, but - like his birth - the place and date of his death have not yet come to light. His music, however, lives on, a testament to his talent for composing delightful music in a Classical style evoking the fascinating gatherings of the Viennese literati.

John Adams: Piano Music
Jeroen van Veen, piano
Brilliant Classics 90011 (1 LP)
Release: 1 January 2024
A half-speed mastered, new LP transfer of a best-selling album in the acclaimed series of minimalist piano music recorded by Jeroen van Veen for Brilliant Classics. As an indefatigable champion of minimalist music from both sides of the Atlantic, Jeroen van Veen had recorded some of these pieces before, within his compendious 'Minimal Piano Collection' which became an essential acquisition for collectors of the most influential classical style in music during the last sixty years. The 2017 remake of China Gates is even more opulent as a performance, superbly engineered to catch van Veen's subtleties of touch at the piano, and thus eminently suitable for a high-spec vinyl transfer. It may seem strange that Adams has not since written more for solo piano than the four pieces gathered here, but as Jeroen van Veen argues in his sleeve-note essay, these pieces between them say all that needs to be said in terms of the composer's piano style. Mostly composed in a West Coast beach hut, the gentle flow, rolling swells and thundering breakers of Phrygian Gates add up to a half-hour, overpowering analogy for melodic waves. From the same year, China Gates distils this energy into a five-minute work of memorably concentrated stillness. Adams left off the piano for another twenty years until writing Hallelujah Junction for two pianos in 1996. Van Veen gave the Dutch premiere, and he remains an outstanding, authoritative advocate of Adams' music.

Thiemo Wind: Adriana: Her Portrait, Her Life, Her Music
Erik Bosgraaf, recorder; Ensemble Cordevento
Brilliant Classics 97188 (book + 1 CD)
Release: 1 January 2024
The forgotten figure of a seventeenth-century Dutch recorder virtuoso, illuminated by a unique synthesis of art history, scholarship and modern musicianship. Der Fluyten Lust-hof (The Recorder's Pleasure Garden, or Garden of Delights) is a famous collection of music for recorder composed by Jacob van Eyck and published in Amsterdam by Paulus Matthijsz. The same Matthijsz published a parallel recorder edition in 1644 that he dedicated to a certain Adriana vanden Bergh: Der goden fluit-hemel (The Gods' Recorder Heaven). Her identity remained obscure for centuries, until the musicologist Thiemo Wind discovered that she was portrayed as the muse Euterpe by the painter Jacob Backer, an illustrious contemporary of Rembrandt. In his dedication, Matthijsz compared Adriana to the muse Euterpe in a four-line poem: 'Euterpe's spirit was reborn, or so it did appear, / Whene'er the sound of ADRIANA's Fluyt I chanced to hear: / A wonder of our century, that such a youthful lass / Wears in the name of all the maidens laurels on Parnas.' Who was Adriana vanden Bergh? This book and CD tells the full and fascinating story, shedding light along the way on many aspects of culture, religion and everyday life in Amsterdam during the seventeenth century. As both a musicologist and art historian, Thiemo Wind is uniquely placed to tell this story. He has identified Adriana as the subject of a famous painting by Jacob Adriaensz Backer (1608/09-1651), hitherto anonymous but considered one of the most beautiful portraits of the Dutch Golden Age. Through original research, Thiemo Wind has assembled an eventful biography, which moves in short and lively chapters, each of them illustrated with a telling image, from Adriana's family background to her birth in 1631, her complex religious inheritance of both Protestant and Catholic observance, her apparently rapid mastery of the recorder, her participation in Amsterdam's lively performing culture and her status as a musical celebrity even as a teenager, to her marriage in 1650, which probably occasioned the commission of Backer's portrait. Thereafter the story turns darker, with a tale of bankruptcy, child-birth and -death, family splits and reconciliations, obscurity and ultimately Adriana's death in 1668, having given birth to her ninth child. The accompanying CD takes its cue from Der goden fluit-hemel, and from the music publications featured in Backer's portrait, to present new recordings of music with which Adriana would have delighted audiences in her time. There are tunes and hymns adapted by Van Eyck, an air by Matthijsz, sonata movements by Dutch and Italian masters such as Sweelinck, Rossi, Merula and Uccellini, and more besides. Performed by the internationally renowned virtuoso Erik Bosgraaf, in company with his ensemble Cordevento, the recording complements Thiemo Wind's scholarship to present Adriana's life and music in the round.

Posted 14 December 2023 by Keith Bramich



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