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New Releases for February 2024 and Later

Browse a selection of new recordings


Here is our list of future releases, based on emails received between 24 January 2024 and 14 December 2023, ordered by release date.

The list has been prepared quickly. Apologies for any omissions, or if the information is not up to our usual standards, and please let us know if you find any mistakes. To get your new releases into our next list, or to find out how our review process works, look at the information here.

Unless otherwise specified, each item is a single CD.

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


5 MAY 2024

Legends, Myths and Lavender
Stephan Moccio, piano
Decca Records (LP, CD, digital)
Release: 5 May 2024
Feel More. Think Less. During the winter of 2023, pianist and composer Stephan Moccio traded his home of Los Angeles for the South of France to record his album Legends, Myths and Lavender, far away from the hustle and bustle of metropolitan chaos at the iconic Chateau Miraval. Stephan Moccio: 'Three things I'm most passionate about — music, wine, and architecture — combined into this experience'.


26 APRIL 2024

Fear No More
Brindley Sherratt, bass; Julius Drake, piano
Delphian Records DCD34313
Release: 26 April 2024
Brindley Sherratt's pre-eminence as an operatic bass is the result of two daring career shifts. Initially trained as a trumpeter, he gave up his first instrument as a student to become a singer. Yet even then, it was only in his mid-thirties that he left the professional security of a position in the BBC Singers to explore the world of opera. Now, the voyage of discovery continues as Sherratt turns to the intimate medium of the song recital. With the superb pianist Julius Drake as collaborator, in Fear No More Sherratt draws on all of his accumulated technical and expressive wisdom to traverse death-haunted songs by Schubert, Mussorgsky and Richard Strauss before arriving at a final group of five twentieth-century English songs in which consolation and acceptance are the keynotes.

5 APRIL 2024

The Golden Age of Hollywood - Concert Works for Violin and Piano
Patrick Savage, violin; Martin Cousin, piano
Release: 5 April 2024
A remarkable album of concert works by legendary composers of Hollywood's Golden Age will be released on the Quartz label on 5 April, 2024.  The recording features music for violin and piano by Erich Korngold, Franz Waxman, Bernard Herrmann, Miklós Rózsa, Robert Russell Bennett, Jerome Moross and Heinz Roemheld.  Much of the music is rarely heard and the album features three first recordings.  Australian-born violinist Patrick Savage researched and compiled the program during COVID Lockdowns and performs the works alongside pianist Martin Cousin. Formerly Principal First Violin for the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and first violin in the Tippett Quartet, Patrick is now a free-lance concertmaster, soloist, studio session player and West End musician. He is also a composer for feature film, theatre and video games, and his film scores include the cult horror The Human Centipede and the forthcoming puppet horror, Abruptio. Each of the composers represented on this album were Academy Award-winners or nominees and made an extraordinary contribution to the art of film scoring during Hollywood's Golden Age - the heady years of frenetic film production from the 1920s to the 1960s. Between them they composed scores for some of the most famous cinema of the era. Extraordinary music-makers were drawn to Los Angeles from across the United States and around the world, including those forced to flee the rise of Nazism in Europe. But even the most gifted of composers that made their name in cinema often faced an uphill battle for acceptance in the classical world. Professional jealousy may have been a factor, as well as snobbery: how could a composer for popular entertainment be taken seriously as an artist? This prejudice led to music of great value remaining in obscurity, but despite a resurgence of interest in film composers of those years, the works by Herrmann, Roemheld and Moross are recorded here for the first time.

Randall Goosby: Roots (Deluxe Edition)
Decca Classics (digital only)
Release: 5 April 2024
Roots is an exploration of the music written by Black composers and inspired by Black American culture. The album is a homage to the pioneering musicians who paved the way for Goosby and his generation of young artists. The new deluxe edition features 5 un-released extra tracks including 'Louisiana Blues Strut', 'Elfentanz' as well as 'Here's One' and 'Hold Fast To Dreams' - a duet with Carlos Simon.


29 MARCH 2024

Stainer: The Crucifixion
Choir of St Mary's Cathedral, Edinburgh / Duncan Ferguson
Delphian Records DCD34275
Release: 29 March 2024
John Stainer made it his life's work to reform and renew the standards of music in schools, parish churches, colleges and cathedrals up and down the land. His two most lasting legacies are our thriving cathedral choral tradition and this piece - The Crucifixion. Intended to be accessible, and full of the zeal and emotion of the reforming High Church, Stainer's meditation on the Passion was immediately taken up in both Britain and America, and is as popular today as ever. Here, Duncan Ferguson and the Choir of St Mary's Cathedral, Edinburgh are joined by two rising-star Scottish soloists and, in the hymns, by a nave-full of local young musicians and the cathedral's own worshippers to create a true sense of the musical community spirit that the composer had in mind.


22 MARCH 2024

Vaughan Williams: Serenade to Music
Albion Records ALBCD059
Release: 22 March 2024
This is an 'archive' recording comprising 78 rpm discs newly remastered for this album by Peter Reynolds of Reynolds masting. The album includes the first, 1938, recording of Vaughan Williams's Serenade to Music, set down just a few days after the first performance. Of course, that recording is well known; it even made an appearance on an earlier Albion album, though it has been remastered for the album from another 78rpm copy. Serenade to Music was written for sixteen named singers, and they are the performers here, conducted by Sir Henry Wood (for whose fiftieth anniversary as a conductor the work was commissioned) and accompanied by the BBC Symphony Orchestra. What makes the new album unique is that it explores, for the first time, those sixteen singers, who were well known, even popular, in their day, through recording of other works. These cover the range from drawing room ballads to grand opera. Thus, before you get to the Serenade, which is track 17, you can hear each of the 16 voices for whom it was written. A 'bonus' track 18 deals with one singer, Sir Keith Falkner, who worked closely with both Sir Henry Wood and Ralph Vaughan Williams, and would unquestionably have been one of the sixteen had he not been working in America at the crucial time in October 1938. I believe that as many as eight of the tracks on the album have not been re-released in a modern format before, and there are several more not currently commercially available. Some of these are fascinating; I've developed one or two personal favourites including Amy Woodforde-Finden's A Request and a piece called Serenade by Sir Granville Bantock. Dame Eva Turner's Vissi d'Arte from Tosca is a tour de force.

Gershwin Rhapsody
Jean-Yves Thibaudet, Michael Feinstein
Decca Classics
Commemorating the 1924 premiere of Rhapsody in Blue, pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet collabs with Michael Feinstein, the 'one-man encyclopedia of the Great American Songbook to release Gershwin Rhapsody. The two also perform a Gershwin-esque setting of Vincent Youman's classic tune, 'ea for Two and the program rounds off with Jasbo Brown Blues from Porgy & Bess.

Rachmaninoff: All-Night Vigil
Igor Morozov; Evgeny Kachurovsky; Alexis V Lukianov; PaTRAM Institute Male Choir / Ekaterina Antonenko
Chandos Records CHSA 5349 (SACD)
Release: 22 March 2024
In celebration of the 150th anniversary of the birth of Rachmaninoff, PaTRAM Institute Male Choir invites you to experience the extraordinary beauty of his choral tour de force, the All-Night Vigil. The arrangements for male voice choir add a darker sonority to this powerful work.


15 MARCH 2024

Bruckner from the Archives Vol 1
SOMM Recordings SOMM 5025
Release: 15 March 2024
A major new, six-double-CD-volume series celebrating the 200th anniversary of Anton Bruckner's birth in 1824. Conceived and designed by SOMM Executive Producer and acclaimed Audio Restoration Engineer Lani Spahr with support from the Bruckner Society of America, the series features rare archival recordings of Bruckner's 11 symphonies and selected other important works, many appearing for the first time in any form. Recordings have been sourced from the more than 11,000 Bruckner performances in the Archive of John F Berky, Executive Secretary of the Bruckner Society of America, who also acts as Consultant for this important series. Across the series, authoritative notes by Professor Benjamin M Korstvedt, Jeppson Professor of Music at Clark University, Worcester, Massachusetts, President of the Bruckner Society of America and member of the Editorial Board of the New Anton Bruckner Complete Edition, trace Bruckner's life and compositional development from the Symphony in F minor (1862) to the unfinished Ninth Symphony (1894). Volume 1 (SOMM 5025) will be released on 15 March 2024 and includes two Symphonies: in F minor (Bruckner Orchestra, Linz conducted by Kurt Wöss) and No 1 in C minor, 'Linz' (Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, Eugen Jochum); Bruckner's only String Quartet (Koeckert Quartet); Psalm 112 (Vienna Akademie Kammerchor, Vienna Symphony Orchestra, Henry Swoboda); the Overture in G minor (WDR Symphony Orchestra, Cologne, Dean Dixon); the March in D minor, and Three Pieces for Orchestra (Vienna Symphony Orchestra, Hans Weisbach).

Tchaikovsky: Orchestral Works, Vol 2 - Hamlet; Capriccio italien; Fatum; Introduction to 'The Queen of Spades'; Excerpts from 'The Oprichnik' and 'The Snow Maiden'
BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra / Alpesh Chauhan
Chandos Records CHSA 5331 (SACD)
Release: 15 March 2024
Alpesh Chauhan conducts the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra in this second album of Tchaikovsky. As with the first volume, he again mixes well-known with less-often-heard works.


8 MARCH 2024

Mozart: Piano Concertos, Vol 9
Jean-Efflam Bavouzet, piano; Manchester Camerata / Gábor Takács-Nagy
Chandos Records CHAN 20286
Release: 8 March 2024
Jean-Efflam Bavouzet's acclaimed Mozart concerto cycle continues. The three concertos featured on this album - Nos 11-13, KV 413-415 - were composed together in 1782-83, shortly after Mozart had left Salzburg to establish himself as a freelance composer and performer in Vienna.


1 MARCH 2024

La Sagrada Familia Symphony & Babel - Richard Blackford
Nimbus SRCD432
Release: 1 March 2024
'Bournemouth Symphony Chorus are delighted to offer congratulations to our President, Richard Blackford, on his Making Music award for Babel. Commissioned by The Camden Choir, and first performed on 20th March 2022 at Cadogan Hall, London conducted by the composer.' - Bournemouth Symphony Chorus

La Sagrada Familia Symphony No.2 study score - Richard Blackford
Nimbus NMP1125 (score)
Release: 1 March 2024
Inspired by Antoni Gaudi's temple La Sagrada Familia and more specifically its stained glass windows, pillars inspired by shapes of tree trunks, and the three great facades that surround the main access points to the basilica - nativity, passion and glory. Richard Blackford's La Sagrada Familia has three movements inspired by each of these great facades. An accompanying film of Sagrada Família has been created which can be projected behind an orchestra for synchronised performances.

Songs of Nadia Anjuman - Richard Blackford
Elizabeth Watts, soprano
Nimbus NI6444
Release: 1 March 2024
'Nadia Anjuman (1980-2005) was an Afghan poet writing during a period of turmoil. In 1995, when the Taliban captured Herat, her birthplace, women's liberties were drastically reduced. A gifted student, Nadia faced a future with no hope of education. With other women she attended an underground educational circle called the Golden Needle Sewing School. Meeting under the guise of learning how to sew, the meetings were in fact discussions on literature with Herat professors. The project was dangerous: If caught, the punishment could be imprisonment, torture or hanging. Nadia was 21 when the Taliban was ousted. While earning her degree in literature she published her first book of poetry. She married into a family who believed that, since she was a woman, writing brought disgrace on their reputation. Yet she continued to write. At the age of twenty-five she was beaten to death by her husband. The five poems I chose are wide-ranging and cover extremes of emotion: from love; to delight in being a poet; to despair at her lack of freedom; and even contemplation of suicide. The opening poem Turmoil, is an astonishing volte face, starting with a song of love for the solitude and beauty of the night, then a yearning to be free of earth's constraints and to be united with God. It concludes with a passionate plea for the power of her own poetry to save her.' - Richard Blackford

Songs of Nadia Anjuman - Richard Blackford
Nimbus NMP1173 & NMP1174 & NMP1175 (scores)
Release: 1 March 2024

George Lloyd The Symphonies Nos 1-6; Charade & Overture 'John Socman'
BBC Philharmonic; Albany Symphony Orchestra / George Lloyd
Nimbus SRCD2417
Release: 1 March 2024

Danza Gaya - Music for two pianos - Madeleine Dring, Dorothy Howell and Pamela Harrison
Simon Callaghan, piano; Hiroaki Takenouchi, piano
Nimbus SRCD433
Release: 1 March 2024
This CD brings together three prolific but lesser-known British composers: Dorothy Howell (1898-1982), Pamela Harrison (1915-90), and Madeleine Dring (1923-77). Working in the same country at the same time, these composers had much in common. All studied at either the Royal Academy or Royal College of Music, and went on to have dual careers as composer-performers. They wrote tonal music in a style that would fall out of fashion in the later twentieth century, which has certainly contributed to their disappearance from concert halls, and above all, they composed with a great sense of humour. The music on this disc sparkles with wit and energy. In the mid-twentieth century the two piano combination was popular both in the concert hall and for light entertainment. It proved a perfect medium for composers who liked to bring a lightness of touch to their work, allowing them to write pieces that were fun both to play and to watch.

Madeleine Dring - Four Dances for two pianos
Nimbus NMP1258
Release: 1 March 2024

Cab Calloway - The Hi-De-Ho Man
Nimbus RTS4414
Release: 1 March 2024

Brahms & Busoni: Violin Concertos
Francesca Dego, violin; BBC Symphony Orchestra / Dalia Stasevska
Chandos Records CHSA 5333 (SACD)
Release: 1 March 2024
Marking the 100th anniversary of Busoni's death, Francesca Dego is joined by the BBC Symphony Orchestra and their Principal Guest Conductor Dalia Stasevska for this recording of his violin concerto, coupled with the Brahms concerto.

Glass: Cocteau Trilogy
Katia Labèque, Marielle Labèque
Deutsche Grammophon
Release: 1 March 2024
Katia et Marielle Labèque, the famous pianist sister duo with a career spanning more than fifty years, release their new album dedicated to the music of Philip Glass, completing his operatic triptych composed between 1993 and 1996, based on the films by Jean Cocteau.

Michael A Muller: Mirror Music
Deutsche Grammophon (LP, digital)
Release: 1 March 2024
Balmorhea co-founder, composer, and multi-instrumentalist Michael A. Muller has been at the forefront of contemporary music for nearly two decades. His DG solo debut opens a new chapter in his creative career. Its ten luminous tracks, crafted in collaboration with friends from around the world, embrace a multitude of sound colors and haunting melodic ideas.

Dussek: Complete Piano Sonatas & Sonatinas
Various artists
Brilliant Classics 95503 (10 CDs)
Release: 1 March 2024
Johann Ladislaus Dussek (1760-1812) was regarded by his contemporaries as one of the foremost keyboard performers and composers of his age. Over a span of three decades, Dussek completed nearly three hundred compositions, most of which involve a keyboard instrument. The sonata as a genre holds a special position in his overall oeuvre: keyboard sonatas were among his first published pieces in the early 1780s, and the sonata Op 77 in F minor was to be his last work before his death in 1812. This set is the result of an extensive recording project using the combined resources of eight excellent fortepianists to produce the first comprehensive recording of Dussek's keyboard sonatas on period instruments. Listeners are invited to take a journey through the brilliant, harmonically beautiful and expressive music of one of the most fascinating composers at the threshold of early Romanticism. While in modern times piano building has been largely standardised, eighteenth century instruments were very personal works of art, and their construction differed from town to town and from builder to builder, and even within one builder's output. The distance between cities as far apart as London and Vienna resulted in two distinct schools of piano building: the 'English' and the 'Viennese.' The formidable array of both English and Viennese fortepianos played on this recording (see info below) provides listeners with a parallel journey, alongside through Dussek's music, exploring the great tonal variety that existed amongst fortepianos in the composer's day, with each instrument's unique qualities matched to the differing characters of Dussek's works.

Federico Mompou: Misteriós, Transcriptions for Guitar, vol 1
Marco Ramelli, guitar
Brilliant Classics 96709
Release: 1 March 2024
This album is dedicated to the compositions of Federico Mompou, a composer and pianist of profound sensitivity. He exhibited an early inclination for the piano but, inspired by a Gabriel Fauré concert, he shifted his focus to composition, making his way to Paris to further his study. Mompou's compositional approach was channelled through the piano, which he considered a fundamental tool for connecting with music's essence, so he composed primarily on and for the instrument. There are some exceptions, however: notably his guitar compositions Suite Compostelana (1962) and Cançon i Dansa No.13 (1972). In the guitar's melancholic and evocative timbre, Mompou discovered an ideal medium to express his contemplative and gentle poetic world. The guitar becomes the canvas where sound and silence intertwine, evoking emotions capable of transporting the listener to archaic places suspended in time. In 2018, Brilliant Classics released Ramelli's recording of Mompou's original guitar compositions. This new album furthers his exploration of the composer's works, taking his piano compositions and reimagining them for the guitar. The collaboration between the guitarist and James Beneteau, who presented Ramelli with these exquisite transcriptions of Mompou's pieces, has been profound. Throughout the transcription journey, Ramelli and Beneteau followed Mompou's scores as a map, transmuting each piece through the lens of contact with the geography of the guitar's unique resonance. Decisions about transcription, instrumental technique, tempo, and dynamics are all intertwined with this listening to the instrument itself. Playing Mompou's music transcribed for guitar is a journey aimed at heightened listening and sensitivity, exploring the spaces between notes through tactile contact with the instrument. This recording captures this creative process and marks the beginning of this ongoing artistic journey.

Pierre-Claude Foucquet: Pièces de Clavecin
Fernando De Luca, harpsichord
Brilliant Classics 96772 (2 CDs)
Release: 1 March 2024
First recordings of the complete surviving keyboard works by a forgotten figure of the French Baroque. Brilliant Classics has revived the names of many composers from obscure corners of history. Few of them have been as buried by the past as Pierre-Claude Foucquet, who was active in Paris in the first half of the eighteenth century. Yet anyone listening to this first complete recording of his music for harpsichord will surely wonder why. Three volumes survive: two books of Pièces de Clavecin, and a third entitled Caractères de la Paix. This was the first to be published in 1749. By then Foucquet had been organist at the magnificent Church of Saint-Eustache for some years, and he would go on to take up the post of titulaire at Notre Dame. He was following in a distinguished family line, his father and grandfather both having been organists at Saint-Eustache. Foucquet must have been a richly talented organist and improviser in the French tradition, and this latter quality is abundantly and delightfully preserved by the character pieces which make up these harpsichord suites. They belong to the same tradition as the Pièces de Clavecin of Couperin, d'Anglebert and Rameau, but they have a palette of colour and a dramatic imagination of their own. The third movement of Caractères de la Paix is titled 'Le Feu', and it fairly sets the instrument alight with pounding explosions and ribbons of flame, demanding all the resources of both an instrument and interpreter at full stretch. From 1751 and 1758 respectively, the second and third books are hardly less full of vividly pictorial representations - of chickens and champagne, of figures lamenting and working and praying in a gallery of probably real people whose names are now lost to us but whose personality lives on in the keyboard music of French composers from the time. This album of Foucquet is a notable addition to the Brilliant Classics discography of Fernando De Luca, which already includes complete surveys of other unfamiliar names from the time such as Jollage, Moyreau and most recently Pierre-Thomas Dufour.

Charles & Frédéric-Nicolas Duvernoy: Clarinet Chamber Music
Luigi Magistrelli, clarinet; Italian Classical Consort
Brilliant Classics 96853
Release: 1 March 2024
There is scarce information available on Charles Duvernoy - not to be confused with Jean Baptiste Duvernoy (1802-1880), a French composer and pianist of the later romantic period, author of many studies and didactical works for piano. Charles was born in Montbéliard, France, and began clarinet studies in Strasbourg while playing in a military band. In 1790 he moved to Paris where he improved his playing - first as a member of the National Guard Band along with his brother, hornist Frédéric-Nicolas, and then achieving the posts of principal clarinet with the orchestra of the Monsieur Theatre and then the Feydeau Theatre of Saint- Germain, a position he held until 1824. He was also a professor at the Conservatory of Paris from 1800-02 and from 1808-16. The Quartet No 1 is an unpretentious but enjoyable composition with well-conceived themes in all three movements and strong connections to the classical Viennese period. The three Themes and Variations employ simple themes with an introduction (in a minor key for Nos 1 and 2) before developing them in five variations (Nos 1 and 2) and three variations (No 3). The two Airs varies (chosen from the 6 Airs varies) were also conceived in theme and variations form. The style is purely classical and resembles other Airs (or Sonatas) written by French composers such as Lefevre, Devienne or Buteaux. Originally written for C clarinet and bass, this recording uses a B flat clarinet and basset horn for a better timbral match. For authentic colour, the clarinet is an early, original Lefevre six-key boxwood instrument from the early nineteenth century. Frédéric-Nicolas's Trio No 1 is the work of a virtuoso hornist. In 1788 he went to Paris and joined the Orchestre de la Comédie italienne. Two years later he became hornist of the Orchestre de la Guarde National and later was a professor at the Paris Conservatory, where he served until 1815. He also played in the Orchestre de l'Opéra de Paris from 1796-1817. He left a great number of horn pieces including twelve horn concertos, trios, nocturnes, quintets, etc. The Trio recorded here features a well-developed first movement and a second movement consisting of a short theme with four carefree variations ending in a brilliant coda. The horn is substituted with the more velvety, nasal colour of the basset horn, creating a new, interesting timbral combination.

Clara Schumann, Rebecca Clarke: Piano Trios
Trio Rigamonti
Brilliant Classics 96861
Release: 1 March 2024
This pair of piano trios has become recognised in recent years as among the finest works by their composers, and they make a complementary pairing despite their contrasting idioms. This new recording also makes a fine showcase for a trio of Italian siblings who have won many prizes in chamber-music competitions and give recitals across Italy as Trio Rigamonti. Completed in 1846, the G minor Piano Trio of Clara Schumann thus postdates her early piano pieces by decades, and is accordingly a much more mature and accomplished work. She handles the piano-trio dynamic with great skill, balancing her piano part against the strings with sensitivity, and the whole piece is shot through with a pathos that bears comparison with contemporary works by both her husband and her friend Brahms. While there is no shortage of light and shade to the second theme of the first movement and the playful central Scherzo, the expressive pull of Clara Schumann's Piano Trio draws the listener towards the piano's deeply felt introduction to the slow movement, which achieves remarkable pathos within its relatively brief duration. The turbulent finale skilfully balances the scale of the first movement, and the whole piece ranks among the most satisfying of nineteenth century piano trios. Its counterpart in the early years of the twentieth century, hardly less rewarding a contribution to the piano-trio literature than contemporary works by Ravel and Rachmaninoff, is the Piano Trio composed in 1921 by Rebecca Clarke. The angst of Clara's finale is answered and intensified by a gripping confrontation at the start of Clarke's Trio, which does not so much subside as simmer throughout the first movement. The central Andante flows like a free-running brook and yet is achingly lyrical, before the Allegro vigoroso finale spins the listener through a whirling kaleidoscope of music past and future. These trios make a natural pairing in concert and on record and yet they are still too rarely heard, but Trio Rigamonti are passionate advocates.

Monteverdi: Messa et Salmi
Le Nuove Musiche; Krijn Koetsveld, artistic leader
Brilliant Classics 96880 (2 CDs)
Release: 1 March 2024
In 1650, seven years after Claudio Monteverdi's death, the Venetian publisher Alessandro Vincenti, with the help of Francesco Cavalli, a student and successor of Monteverdi, decided to put together the compilation Messa a quattro voci et salmi. It was a unique tribute to Monteverdi. In an era when looking back was not fashionable, the preservation of written music was rare, and for the most part the names of dead musicians were quickly forgotten, Monteverdi's fame seemed to persist for a long time. In 1641 Monteverdi himself had compiled the collection Selva Morale et Spirituale. Perhaps he considered these to be the great treasures of his oeuvre. But there must have been many more. After all, music was always written for the Liturgy of the Hours (Liturgia Horarum) and for special occasions, and Monteverdi was not excepted from this practice. Cavalli and Vincenti had plenty to choose from when putting together this beautiful compilation, to which Cavalli added his own Magnificat. Alongside the Messa a quattro - church music in the old contrapuntal style - there is a lot of other beautiful music. We find the Confitebor in two different versions (Monteverdi was constantly modifying existing pieces) which gives us a nice insight into how he worked. We also know that Monteverdi looked back to the old contrapuntal techniques in his church music. The Laudate pueri, Laetatus sum, Nisi Dominus II and the Lauda Jerusalem for five voices are good examples of this. In contrast to this are the works where he looked forwards, where he translated the concertante practice into psalms such as Nisi Dominus I and the intoxicating Beatus vir. In the Laetatus sum, he lets the infinite possibilities over an infinitely repeating bass be heard. The second CD begins with a mass that was written as an opening piece for the Marian Vespers: the Messa in illo tempore. And with this, we complete the circle. In 1610 Monteverdi began a church-music career that to the end of his life was notable for the enormous variety of styles he employed. We should be grateful that Cavalli and Vincenti, perhaps driven by commercial interests, left us this extra treasure.

Johann Sebastian Bach, Dmitri Shostakovich: Salvation - Vocal and Instrumental Music
Dorothee Mields, soprano, G A P Ensemble
Brilliant Classics 97280
Release: 1 March 2024
'I play Bach every day', said Shostakovich in 1950, at an event to mark the bicentenary of Bach's death. 'For us, Bach's legacy is an embodiment of flaming emotion, soulful humanity and true humanism, which stands in contrast to the dark world of raw evil and contempt for humanity.' Taking their inspiration from these words, and from the palpable influence of Bach on the solid forms and fluent counterpoint of Shostakovich's own music, this quartet of musicians presents an entirely original pairing of the two composers, in which cantata arias and a major song-cycle are linked and interspersed by instrumental interludes. The German soprano Dorothee Mields is renowned for her piercing musicianship and luminous tone in the music of Bach, working with such illustrious conductors as Rene Jacobs and Philippe Herreweghe. Here she sings recitatives and arias from seven cantatas, including the meditative opening movement of 'Ich bin in mir vergnügt'  BWV 204. The trio-sonata accompaniment brings her expressive handling of the text to the fore, and prefaces the arias with the G major Sonata BWV 1021 for violin and continuo, while Luca Quintavalle contributes the sixth Prelude and Fugue from Book 2 of 'The Well-Tempered Clavier'. Switching to piano for Shostakovich, Quintavalle plays the D major Prelude and Fugue from the Russian composer's counterpart to the WTC. The early Piano Trio No.1 makes a Romantically yearning preface to the late settings of Alexander Blok which Shostakovich composed alongside the song-cycle Fourteenth Symphony. These songs find the composer at his most introspective, unsparing and yet rewarding of the subtlety which Mields brings to them. The idioms of Bach and Shostakovich complement as much as they contrast, and they are drawn together here by performances of powerful eloquence.

Heinrich Baermann: Clarinet Quintets
Henk de Graaf, clarinet; Schubert Consort Netherlands
Brilliant Classics 97062
Release: 1 March 2024
New recordings of early-Romantic quintets by the supreme clarinet virtuoso of his day, an inspiration to Weber and Mendelssohn but also an accomplished composer in his own right. Heinrich Baermann followed in his father's footsteps as a military musician in Prussian Germany, but his career took off once he met Carl Maria von Weber in 1811. Weber was immediately taken with the French-accented brilliance and German richness of tone which Baermann drew from his instrument, and began to write a series of works - including two concertos and a concertino - which still rank among his most inspired instrumental pieces, as well as defining a new sound and reach for the clarinet as a solo instrument Mozart had made a poet out of the clarinet, with his pieces for Anton Stadler; now thanks to Baermann, it could take on multiple roles, as leader, jester, and magus-like figure to complement the likes of Paganini on the violin and Giuliani on the guitar. Weber pushed Baermann's technique to new heights of facility and eloquence, which in return inflected Baermann's own works for his instrument with comparable ambition. He wrote three quintets for clarinet and string ensemble, the first of them more concerto-like in character, the latter two full-scale chamber works. They have been recorded complete only once before, making this new album from a fine team of Dutch musicians all the more welcome. Especially impressive are the slow movements of the quintets, cast as arias without words in order to capitalise on the fluid legato of Baermann's playing, but formed with an economy of means which leaves their themes lingering in the mind's ear. The Adagio of the Op 23 Quintet was misattributed to Richard Wagner for many years, which speaks for Baermann's craftsmanship, even if its harmonic language evidently belongs to a generation or two after Mozart. Now restored to its rightful place, the Adagio is the crown jewel, but there are treasures in store throughout Baermann's clarinet quintets.

Summer Dreams American Piano Duets - Edward MacDowell, Amy Beach, Samuel Barber
Emma Abbate & Julian Perkins, piano
Brilliant Classics 97118
Release: 1 March 2024
Both Beach and MacDowell were formidably accomplished pianists who wrote concertos in barnstorming virtuoso style, for themselves and their contemporaries to play, but they could also turn their hand to the lucrative domestic market for piano-duet music. In doing so they also tapped into the nineteenth century, Romantic preoccupation with childhood which Schumann had encapsulated in his Kinderszenen of 1838. MacDowell wrote his Moon-Pictures Op 21 in the winter of 1884-5 and subtitled them 'after H C Andersen's Picture-Book without Pictures', referring to an 1848 collection of short bedtime stories. Published in 1901 and dedicated to the composer's niece, the six duets of the album's title collection, Summer Dreams by Beach, are shorter and technically simpler than the Moon-Pictures, but they are prefaced by literary quotations which once more indicate that this is not music for children so much as music for adults to play to children, and for adults to play at being children. In any case, simpler means and fewer notes need hardly imply naivety of expression, and Beach's self-taught technique was too rigorous to allow anything less than the most deftly fashioned work to escape her desk. Composed in 1883, Beach's brief 3 Movements for piano duet are the work of a prodigiously talented teenager who knows her early-Romantic piano literature - including Kinderszenen - inside out, but who also understands at this stage how to emulate rather than merely copy her models. In the following year of 1884, the twenty-three-year-old MacDowell wrote his Three Poems Op 20. Strictly speaking, Hamlet and Ophelia is the outlier in this collection, since MacDowell composed it in 1894 as a tone-poem for orchestra in the Lisztian manner, and then made this two-piano transcription rather than leaving the work to the kind of professional arranger habitually commissioned by publishers for such work. Nevertheless, he took the kind of care over it that Brahms did in arranging his symphonies, and the piano-duet version retains the brooding tension of the opening and effectively transfers the violinistic surges of Hamlet's main section to the keyboard. The album's final collection takes a chronological leap forward to 1952, but its nostalgia-drenched mood belongs to an intermediate age. 'One might imagine a divertissement in a setting of the Palm Court at the Plaza Hotel', Barber explained in a letter to his publisher, 'the year about 1914, epoch of the first tangos. Souvenirs - remembered with affection, not in irony or with tongue in cheek, but in amused tenderness.' Barber, it should be noted, would have been four years old at the time, and so these are 'souvenirs' in the manner of sepia-tinted postcards.

Handel: Oboe Concertos
Andrius Puskunigis, oboe, oboe d'amore; Klaipėda Chamber Orchestra; Vincent Bernhardt, harpsichord, conductor
Brilliant Classics 90014 (1 LP)
Release: 1 March 2024
An audiophile LP transfer for a superbly engineered modern recording of Handel's oboe concertos. The Latvian oboist Andrius Puskunigis has built a catalogue of critically acclaimed albums on Brilliant Classics. From 2020, this album of oboe concertos by Handel includes a number of first recordings and reconstructions. There is ample justification for such imaginative licence, given that Handel himself remarked that the oboe was his favourite instrument, and given the freedom with which he adapted and transcribed his own music as the occasion demanded. Thus, alongside the canonic three oboe concertos, Puskingis presents two more, one for the oboe and the other for the oboe d'amore, transcribed from arias originally written for castrato roles in his operas. A C major Concerto thus includes the famous aria 'Lascia ch'io pianga' from Rinaldo, while the expressive heart of the D major concerto for oboe d'amore features 'Ombra mai fu' from Serse. A similarly inventive approach has been taken to ornamentation and decoration, inserting liberal opportunities for Andrius Puskunigis to display his virtuosity with cadenza passages. Accompanied by the neatly contoured modern-instrument Klaipėda Chamber Orchestra, and recorded in the acoustically optimal modern concert hall of Klaipėda, the album has a focused resonance which makes it highly suitable for this transfer to 180gm vinyl.

D'Indy: Piano Sonata; Albéric Magnard: Promenades
Sofia Andreoli, piano
Piano Classics PCL10255
Release: 1 March 2024
Vincent d'Indy is remembered less for his own music than his conservative control and influence over French musical life in the last decades of the nineteenth century. Yet this massive Piano Sonata, published in 1907, demands the technique of a virtuoso performer, and rewards close attention no less than better-known examples such as the no less ambitious works from the same time by Dukas and Lekeu (both of them also available on Piano Classics). The first movement unfolds as a huge and chromatic set of theme and variations, in which d'Indy's avowed Wagnerism continually blurs tonal boundaries and erupts into distant keys. Even larger - almost twenty minutes in length - is the finale, which seems to pick up where the eventful narrative of the first movement left off, presenting a theme which, if not modernist in its development, embraces distant realms with hardly less enthusiasm than the contemporary music of Scriabin. It is left to the central Scherzo to afford some brief and light relief, but even here the angular features of the outer movements recur. Any seeker of piano rarities and enthusiast for the likes of Alkan and Medtner will want to make the acquaintance of D'Indy's Piano Sonata, especially in a performance as accomplished as this recording by the young Italian pianist Sofia Andreoli. Her pairing for D'Indy's Sonata is hardly less original: the set of Promenades composed by Albéric Magnard in 1893. Magnard was twenty-eight at the time, yet this suite of tone-pictures is hardly 'youthful' in tone. Rather, it too belongs to the heady world of French Wagnerism, exploratory and reflective in tone even as its composer wanders the streets of Paris, past the Bois de Boulogne, the Eglise Saint-Germain and the Trianon, before finding its destination in the forest of Rambouillet on the southern edge of the city. There, glinting half-lights and arboreal silence take the listener back to a space of tranquillity, inviting discovery by any adventurous explorer of the late-Romantic piano.

Sweelinck: Keyboard Works
Andrea Vivanet, piano
Piano Classics PCL10280
Release: 1 March 2024
A young Italian virtuoso breathes new life into the ornate fantasies of a Dutch Baroque master. Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck (1562-1621) enjoyed a great reputation in his time that spread throughout northern Europe and Scandinavia. He attracted pupils from afar, Heinrich Scheidemann, Jacob Praetorius and Samuel Scheidt being the most famous. Sweelinck's influence can, therefore, be said to have reached Buxtehude and Bach through his teaching and compositions: He was not only the founder of the true fugue but a splendid player and teacher whose profound influence on northern European keyboard music particularly lasted long after his death. Sweelinck's extant keyboard output comprises some seventy pieces, of which fourteen are represented here in an original sequence of alternating toccatas, fantasias and variation sets. The precise instrument for which each of the pieces was written cannot always be determined with certainty. While the song variations suit either harpsichord or virginal, the fantasias and toccatas may well have been played on whatever keyboard instrument was to hand, including the organ. Especially in his Variation pieces on popular songs such as 'More Palatino' and 'Onder een linde groen'. Sweelinck shows himself as one of the supreme masters of the form. He retains the structure of his themes throughout each set, but his mastery and inventiveness is shown in the shaping of the inner structures of each variation. The complexity of polyphony can change over the course of one single variation, and the sets as a whole make use of the whole spectrum of compositional structures, from the most plain to the most elaborate. The Italian pianist Andrea Vivanet takes a historically informed approach to Sweelinck's music on the piano. He incorporates graceful ornamentation, and stylistic features necessitated by the limits of early keyboards, but he also takes full advantage of the expressive and coloristic capabilities of the modern instrument. His previous recordings have displayed a refined and imaginative approach to twentieth century composers such as Ravel and Shostakovich, but Vivanet brings a welcome precision of touch to Sweelinck that makes him sound at home on the piano.

12 Ensemble
Release: 1 March 2024
From the divine nature of transformation to alien visions of new worlds and rebirth, the conductor-less 12 Ensemble's debut album on Platoon explores Renaissance hymn reborn as futuristic prayer, ancient Japanese ritual, otherworldly operatic arias and a monumental elegy to lost beauty. Harnessing the transformative sound and arresting commitment of this trail-blazing string collective, Strauss' iconic Metamorphosen for twenty-three solo strings is at the heart of a powerful programme which includes Claude Vivier's cult-classic Zipangu. The album also contains new music from two of today's leading composers: a new adaptation of the aria from Oliver Leith's critically-acclaimed Royal Opera House opera Last Days and a fresh look at an ancient hymn reborn by Edmund Finnis.

23 FEBRUARY 2024

Handel: Complete Violin Sonatas
Bojan Čičić, baroque violin; Steven Devine, 1756 Kirkman harpsichord
Delphian Records DCD34304
Release: 23 February 2024
Though better known as a virtuoso keyboard player, as a young man Handel also trained as a violinist. His works for violin and harpsichord, says essayist Donald Burrows, 'do not attract attention by flashy virtuosity: rather, they are flowing and agreeable chamber music, in which the violinist is in musical conversation with the keyboard player'. Who better to guide us in this conversation than two early music stars - Bojan Čičić, fresh from acclaimed solo recordings of Bach and Johann Jakob Walther; and Steven Devine, who has known the magnificent 1756 Kirckman harpsichord since boyhood and for whom, he says, it is a privilege and delight to record these Handel Sonatas on it.

A Year at Newcastle
The Choir of Newcastle Cathedral; Kris Thomsett, organ / Ian Roberts
Regent Records REGCD582
Release: 23 February 2024
The latest addition to our 'A Year at ...' series comes from Newcastle - England's most northerly cathedral. This is the first recording of the re-vitalised Newcastle Cathedral Choir under their Director of Music, Ian Roberts, who was appointed in 2016, and has taken the choir to new heights. Music is central to Newcastle Cathedral's daily life of prayer, worship and witness, marking the church year and illuminating the Christian Story. This recording presents a flavour of the annual liturgical journey at Newcastle Cathedral, with music chosen to reflect the seasons of Advent, Christmas and Candlemas, and the observance of Lent, including the Feast of The Annunciation. We journey through Holy Week, the joy of Easter, and celebration of Pentecost; we mark Trinity Sunday, the Feast of Corpus Christi, the commemoration of All Souls, and conclude with the final Sunday of the year - the Feast of Christ the King. The repertoire for this recording is predominantly centred on the rich treasury of twentieth century British music, along with some more recent compositions. Receiving its first recorded performance are the 'Three Grace Anthems' by Alan Gray (1885-1935), written during his time as Organist of Trinity College, Cambridge. Recently rediscovered and newly-edited by a member of Newcastle Cathedral Choir, Matthew McCullough, each of the three pieces is an absolute gem of a capella choral writing. 'Ubi caritas' by the Cathedral's Assistant Director of Music and organist for this recording, Kris Thomsett, is a radiant, multi-part setting, influenced by the contemporary 'Ecstatic Style' of Morten Lauridsen or Eric Whitacre, that is destined to enter the standard cathedral repertoire for Maundy Thursday. William Drakett's Evening Canticles from 'The Wells Service' were written for Matthew Owens and the Lay Clerks and Choral Scholars of Wells Cathedral Choir. Taking plainsong tones as a starting point, Drakett writes masterfully and sympathetically, exploiting the luminous and resonant qualities of the choir's lower voices.

Antología 1: Obras para la Orquesta Experimental de Instrumentos Nativos
Cergio Prudencio
Buh Records BR181
Release: 23 February 2024
The work of Bolivian composer Cergio Prudencio (La Paz, 1955) is indissolubly linked to the project of the Orquesta Experimental de Instrumentos Nativos [Experimental Orchestra of Native Instruments] (OEIN), which he co-founded in 1980 and of which he is the emeritus director. It constitutes one of the most challenging adventures in the music that has emerged in Bolivia and Latin America. The OEIN is the result of the incorporation of Aymara musical traditions into the realm of contemporary music to produce a new sonic world. In the composer's words, it is about '... finding in the indigenous conception of music, elements of change and transformation, to establish a historical continuity'. This incorporation is not only based on using native instruments but also involves integrating their socio-historical context and philosophies from the Andean indigenous world.

Ukrainian Masters - Viktor Kosenko, Myroslav Skoryk, Sergei Bortkiewicz Violin Sonatas
Solomiya Ivakhiv, Steven Beck
Naxos 8579146
Release: 23 February 2024
The expressive vitality in this collection of violin sonatas transcends the cultural upheavals from which these three Ukrainian composers emerged. Bortkiewicz's Violin Sonata in G minor is among the most impressive of his relatively few chamber works, finding his musical language at its most vivid and directly communicative. Kosenko's Violin Sonata in A minor is notable for the satisfying balance of its two subtly differentiated movements. Skoryk's Second Violin Sonata is a stylistically diverse chamber work, with pointed allusions to Beethoven, Prokofiev and Gershwin during its compact and always eventiul course.

Antoine Bohrer, Max Bohrer: Grand symphonie militaire; Violin Concerto; Cello Concerto
Friedemann Eichhorn, violin; Alexander Hülshoff, cello; Jena Philharmonic Orchestra / Nicolás Pasquet
Naxos 8574048
Release: 23 February 2024
The Bohrer family produced a succession of distinguished musicians of whom the brothers Antoine, a violinist who studied with Rodolphe Kreutzer in Paris, and cellist Max were the most eminent. Their string quartet promoted Beethoven's works and was much admired by Berlioz, who praised Antoine. They co-composed several works including the imposing Grande symphonie militaire included here, boldly virtuosic and laced with memorable themes. Antoine Borer's Violin Concerto in E minor shares elements familiar from Paganini and is enhanced by Antoine's sense of lyricism. Max's Cello Concerto No 1, though economically scored, shows how quickly the cello had progressed as a solo instrument in the early nineteenth century.

Bartók: Piano Sonata, Op 19; Bartók/Reschofsky: Zongoraiskola ('Piano Method')
Goran Filipec, piano
Naxos 8574420
Release: 23 February 2024
Two important works dominate volume nine of this series. The first is Bartók's substantial and ambitious late-Romantic Piano Sonata, Op 19, a very early work, composed when he was around 17 before his studies in Budapest. It was long considered lost and is heard in Goran Filipec's performing edition, prepared from the manuscript. Zongoraiskola or Piano Method' was devised in collaboration with composer, pianist and teacher Sándor Reschofsky who contributed the exercises. Bartók's 48 original pieces are perfectly formed and charmingly refined, allowing him an opportunity to explore his ideas of piano pedagogy.

Brahms: Complete Songs 5 - Opp 70, 71, 95, 97 and 107; Fünf Ophelia-Lieder, WoO 22
Alina Wunderlin, soprano; Kieran Carrel, tenor; Ulrich Eisenlohr, piano
Naxos 8574490
Release: 23 February 2024
In grouping his Lieder into sets with opus numbers, Brahms was concerned with thematic unity and poetic contrasts. The theme of Op 71 is love, whether ardent, ironic or courtly, and contains one of his best-loved songs, Minnelied. In Op 70 the connections are more subtle: past, present and future create the thematic framework. The serenity of Op 95 is heightened through the use of Serbian folk songs, and for the Op 107 set Brahms once again illuminates love in all its intensity and humour.

Luxembourg Contemporary Music, Vol 3 - Dartevelle, Grethen, Hammes, Kontz, Waltzing
Ernie Hammes, David Ascani, Boris Schmidt, Pierre-Alain Goualch, Niels Engel, Solistes Européens, Luxembourg / Christoph König
Naxos 8579138
Release: 23 February 2024
As both previous volumes in this series have shown, Luxembourg has a wealth of composers writing vibrant new orchestral scores. Featured on this third volume, Luc Grethen's Upswing is a crescendo of energy, while Ernie Hammes' Concertino No 1 fuses jazz modes with classical patterns, and his West End Avenue evokes the atmosphere of an afternoon in New York. Catherine Kontz explores feminist ideas in The Waves, while Gast Waltzing allows his music to 'speak for itself'.

Eduard Strauss I: A Centenary Celebration 3
Czech Chamber Philharmonic Orchestra Pardubice / Marek Stilec
Marco Polo 8225382
Release: 23 February 2024
Though he is much less well remembered than his more famous brothers, Johann II and Josef, Eduard Strauss (1835-1916) was the master of the quick polka and the galop with a succession of distinctive and beguiling melodies and a genius for orchestration. This latest release continues the rediscovery of his music with a succession of pieces, all of which are receiving their first commercial recordings. His music was performed at some of Vienna's most glittering balls and carnival festivities with Eduard offering such à la mode pieces as the Electric Lights waltz and the ingenious equine polka, Leaps of Pegasus.

Dvořák: Cello Concerto in B minor; Silent Woods; Rondo; Romance; Mazurek
Zara Nelsova, Ruggiero Ricci, St Louis Symphony Orchestra / Walter Susskind
Vox Classics VOX-NX-3034CD
Release: 23 February 2024
Antonín Dvořák's Cello Concerto is considered the finest of his concertos, and arguably the greatest of all such works for the cello, with its majestic character, imposing themes and moods of intense drama and warm lyricism. The nostalgic Silent Woods and the sprightly, eloquent Rondo in G minor both predate the concerto, while the songful Romance in F minor contrasts with the virtuoso brilliance of the Mazurek in E minor. Conducted by Walter Susskind and performed by soloists who were legends in their lifetime - violinist Ruggiero Ricci and cellist Zara Nelsova - these recordings are acclaimed classics. 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.

Dvořák: Violin Concerto; Piano Concerto
Ruggiero Ricci, Rudolf Firkušný, St Louis Symphony Orchestra / Walter Susskind
Vox Classics VOX-NX-3035CD
Release: 23 February 2024
The great nineteenth-century violinist Joseph Joachim provides a connection between Dvořák's Violin Concerto and that by his friend Brahms, having given invaluable advice to both composers regarding the works. Dvořák's Czech spirit is given extra weight through Brahms' influence, with Classical stature meeting eloquent Slavonic vitality to create a splendid masterpiece, performed here by Ruggiero Ricci in this acclaimed recording. The Piano Concerto is characteristic of the younger Dvořák. It was long championed by soloist Rudolf Firkušný, whose reputation for placing cultured musicianship before extrovert virtuosity suited the work perfectly. This classic VOX recording remains one of the finest versions of the Piano Concerto available, played by the work's greatest advocate. 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.


20 FEBRUARY 2024

The Sounds of Chow Gar
Shugorei; Black Square String Quartet
4000 Records
Release: 20 February 2024
A studio-recorded soundtrack to the one-time performance The Sounds of Chow Gar, a cinematic classical crossover live music experience featuring Kung fu practitioners performing Chow Gar forms set to meticulously timed live music. This soundtrack album delivers the five main forms that are portrayed in the filmed portion of the show. These are cinematic, percussively heavy and epic pieces performed by Meanjin/Brisbane duo Shugorei, alongside the Black Square String Quartet. For fans of: Björk, Nico Muhly, Ólafur Arnalds, Tan Dun, Geinoh Yamashirogumi and Hans Zimmer.


16 FEBRUARY 2024

Les choses de la vie - Cinema II  
Renaud Capuçon, violin; Les Siécles / Duncan Ward
Release: 16 February 2024
The follow-up to Cinema (2018), violinist Renaud Capuçon presents another sublime selection of music written by French film composers or for iconic French films, including excerpts from Le Dernier Métro (Georges Delerue), Lawrence of Arabia (Maurice Jarre), The Shape of Water (Alexandre Desplat), Les Choses de la Vie (Philippe Sarde) and more. Performed with Les Siécles, the album features new arrangements by Cyrille Lehn.

Johannes Bernardus van Bree: String Quartets Nos 1 & 2
Utrecht String Quartet
MDG MDG60323022
Release: 16 February 2024
Dutch early Romantic composer Johannes Bernardus van Bree's elegant melodies and carefully dosed counterpoint technique give his string quartets a simple yet charming originality. In the words of a contemporary, his works are characterised 'by simplicity and naturalness ... by polish, clarity and freshness, a certain popularity, without triviality'. Van Bree was a self-taught violin virtuoso who founded one of the first professional string quartets in the Netherlands. His compositions were probably all premiered by the 'Amsterdam Quartet Society'. Their surviving concert programmes show a great interest in contemporary repertoire with works by Onslow, Mendelssohn and Spohr, which must have influenced van Bree's own works. He founded Amsterdam's first professional orchestra at the 'Felix Meritis' (a forerunner to the Concertgebouw) and conducted the Dutch premieres of Berlioz' Symphonie fantastique and Wagner's Faust Overture. Even the Toonkunstkoor Amsterdam, which still exists today, can be traced back to van Bree. His importance for Amsterdam's musical life in the first half of the nineteenth century cannot be overstated. Although highly esteemed during his lifetime, van Bree's compositions quickly fell into oblivion. He left behind four string quartets, of which the last one is yet to be published. The Utrecht String Quartet are always on the lookout for hidden treasures. This recording is a first step towards van Bree's long overdue rediscovery.

Beethoven: Piano Sonatas Op 101 & 106
Jin Ju, piano
MDG MDG94723066
Release: 16 February 2024
Beethoven's enigmatic 'Hammerklavier Sonata' Op 106, unprecedented for its time, made such uncompromisingly high demands of the performer that decades would pass before anyone took on the challenge. The immensely difficult, pioneering work of symphonic dimensions is a rewarding task for award-winning virtuoso Jin Ju. Her phenomenal talent turns Beethoven's complex web of motifs into pure musical expression, touching the emotions as deeply as it challenges the intellect. Composed a couple of years after the death of Beethoven's brother, the powerful slow movement of opus 106 is bursting with intensity, in which the pain of his loss and the despair of his now almost complete deafness can be felt. The final fugue with its penetrating trills of brute force brings the listener back down to earth with a jolt, pointing to these 'distressing circumstances'. The much more concise, although by no means less demanding, Sonata Op 101 demonstrates Beethoven's intellectual freedom, particularly in its harmonic structure, which goes far beyond the convention of the time. Internationally celebrated by audiences and critics alike for her warm sensibility of singing lines, astonishing clarity in narrative subtleties as well as her technical perfection, Jin Ju is a rising star of the piano music world. Jin Ju achieves the feat of freeing herself from the difficulties of these sonatas, bringing forth even seemingly incidental touches with finely differentiated tonal nuances. The subtleties of Jin Ju's piano playing on the strikingly powerful sound of the legendary 'Manfred Burki' Steinway from 1901 provide immensely pleasurable listening. Expertly produced in highresolution sound with optional three- dimensional playback, the listener is completely immersed in the natural acoustics of the concert hall, which allows the multi-faceted depths of Beethoven's music to unfold anew.

Gentleman for a Day
Barbara Heindlmeier, recorder; Ensemble La Ninfea
Perfect Noise PN2401
Release: 16 February 2024
Barbara Heindlmeier and La Ninfea spend a day as a gentleman in baroque London. 'Gentleman for a Day' is la Ninfea's second production with Perfect Noise, this time with founding member and renowned recorder player Barbara Heindlmeier as the soloist, also known for her excitingly innovative concepts. When thinking of a true London gentleman, the first thing that comes to mind are top hats and courteous behaviour, elegance and elevated status. Recorder, too? But of course! Well, the fine gentleman didn't (yet) have a top hat around 1700, but of course it was excellent manners to have a recorder in your pocket for you to, for example, serenade the lady you adored at any given moment - a welcome occasion for Barbara Heindlmeier and her colleagues to be 'Gentleman for a Day'. Everything is included: from getting up in the morning to going for a walk, visiting the royal court and going to the opera, to the obligatory five o'clock tea and preparing for the said serenade. An exciting and busy day plotted out with music by composers such as G F Handel, H Purcell, M Locke and J Playford. The Bremen baroque ensemble La Ninfea stands for the highest artistic standards. They have since made a name for themselves with creative, cross- genre concert formats. This baroque ensemble with a varying line-up is completely dedicated to the art of baroque ornamenation and improvisation. Their own contributions such as the divisions on 'Strawberries and Cream' or 'John come kiss me now' underline the richness of colour, emotional density and fast-moving contrasts so inherent to this repertoire.

Ogura Plays Ogura
Miharu Ogura, piano
Thanasis Productions CDTHA30
Release: 16 February 2024
Following her critically acclaimed Stockhausen-album (Thanatosis 2023), Japanese piano wizard Miharu Ogura now displays her incredible skills not only at the piano but also as a composer - Five complex new works are presented here, performed by Ogura with her usual delicacy, preciseness, and soulfulness. In the international press, Ogura's remarkable and prize-awarded playing have drawn comparisons to David Tudor and Aloys Kontarsky, and this new set of original, staggering pieces will attract contemporary classical audiences worldwide. The album was recorded on a Fazioli 212 Grand Piano, at Studio Epidemin in Gothenburg, Sweden. It's published digitally and on a limited CD edition coming in a digi-sleeve and including a booklet with lucid and insightful liner notes by fellow pianist Jonas Olsson, who has also performed several of Ogura's works.

Anton Bruckner: Symphony No 8
Yomiuri Nippon Symphony Orchestra / Stanislaw Skrowaczewski
MDG MDG65023072
Release: 16 February 2024
To mark the 100th birthday of legendary conductor Stanislaw Skrowaczewski, MDG has released a live recording of Bruckner's 8th Symphony with the Yomiuri Nippon Symphony Orchestra in cooperation with Denon, in Bruckner's bicentenary year. With a career spanning eight decades, the ninety-three-year-old conductor moulds Bruckner's last completed symphony into a moving legacy: the crowning achievement a life's work. Born in Lviv, Poland (now part of Ukraine) in 1923, Skrowaczewski began violin and piano lessons at the age of four, and he composed his first symphony by age eight. At 11, he made his debut as a pianist and at 13 conducted and was soloist in Beethoven's 3rd Piano Concerto. This career ended when, in a WWII air raid, he suffered two broken hands and was left with nerve damage. He then turned to composing and conducting. Bruckner's music had transfixed him since he was a boy. Anton Bruckner did not have it easy as a composer. Appointed late in life and plagued by constant self- doubt, he often reworked his compositions several times. Neither was he initially well-received by the public: the premiere of his 7th symphony turned into a veritable scandal after the audience left the hall in droves. However, his 8th was a triumphant success: the audience applauded enthusiastically after every movement and the composer was praised as 'a giant', 'a poet' 'a great genius' by the likes of Hugo Wolf, Hans Richter and Johannes Brahms. In the restrained, introspective coda of the first movement, the music softly fades away, in keeping with the opening of the work. Bruckner described it as a 'Totenuhr' (death knell): 'It's as if you are lying on your death-bed and there is a clock hanging on the wall opposite and inexorably ticking away the seconds while your life slowly ebbs away: tick, tock, tick, tock ...' Bruckner passed away before he could complete his 9th Symphony, making the 8th, the longest symphony he had ever written, his magnum opus.

Stuart James: Alluvial Gold
Louise Devenish, percussion
Huddersfield Contemporary Records HCR32
Release: 16 February 2024
Alluvial Gold is a bold new ecologically inspired composition for percussion and electronics developed by percussionist Louise Devenish (Speak Percussion) and composer Stuart James (Decibel New Music), in collaboration with visual artist Erin Coates, that seeks to expose listeners to the world that lies below the surface of our river systems. Alluvial Gold is shaped by the intersection of multiple narratives embodied by and inflicted upon the Derbarl Yerrigan (Swan River), Western Australia and similar systems across southern Australia. In drawing upon the physical structures and historical experiences of these river systems, the impact of industrialisation following European colonisation, and the audible by-products of its living ecology, Alluvial Gold slowly unravels to reveal itself over nine interconnected movements across eleven tracks. In each movement, different combinations of sculptural percussion-modelled on dolphin bones, native oyster shells and estuarine ecology-are brought together with vibraphone and percussion. Live electronic processing and recordings of the riverbed and water's surface - from air bubbles, shell rustles, crustacean movements, shifting algae, moss and plants - are fluidly and subtly integrated with Devenish's live performance, creating a striking sonic tapestry in constant ebb and flow, a mysterious world of floating sounds that spin off from one another, offering an immersive sonic image.

Georg Friedrich Handel: Neun deutsche Arien
Daniel Saether, Ensemble C4
Release: 16 February 2024
Ensemble C4 is a Norwegian baroque ensemble working primarily in Norway. With its association with several freelance musicians, the ensemble remains flexible in both its musical expression and size. Since 2015, it has presented several new concert programmes per year and has consequently built up a large repertoire of music taken from the period from approximately 1575 till 1800. With extensive concert experience and great synergy, the ensemble has developed a playful and virtuosic style that thrills audiences and has received critical acclaim. Neun deutsche Arien is the ensemble's first CD release. Countertenor Daniel Saether studied at the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire and the Royal Academy in Den Haag. He has performed as a countertenor in Norway and abroad since 2011 with a wide- ranging repertoire from early music to contemporary. From 2018-2020 he was awarded the Norwegian government grant Statens Arbeidsstipend to work with contemporary music for countertenor on baroque instruments and document this in concerts and recordings. In the summer of 2023, Daniel featured as Cesarin the Trygve Broske's contemporary opera Kommandantenheld at the Oscarsborg open air Opera. Saether is a founding member of Ensemble Freithoffand Christian IV Consort(now known as Ensemble C4), both of which perform chamber music in Norway with a focus on Re-naissance and Baroque music. In 2020, Saether released the album Unexpected Songs (LWC1204) for which he was nominated as Singer of the Year at the German Opus Klassik awards in 2021. His second solo album in 2022 Vintersong (LWC1236) achieved nominations in four categories.

Scenes of Horror: Baroque Arias from the Shadows
Laila Salome Fischer, Il Giratempo, Max Volbers
Perfect Noise PN2306
Release: 16 February 2024
This is Laila Salome Fischer's debut album recorded in the splendid acoustics of the Johann Sebastian Bach Saal in Koethen. Baroque opera librettists seem to have found an impish satisfaction in thoroughly putting the heroes of their stories through the wringer before they meet their more or less glorious end or, with a bit of luck, live to celebrate the opera's happy ending. The creativity with which they maneuver their own characters into horrifying scenarios knows no bounds. Popular subjects include fighting terrible monsters, marching into seemingly hopeless battles, various forms of murder, intricate entanglements that can only lead to disaster, lifelong imprisonment, the occasional suicide... and, of course, the full Baroque- opera bounty of creative death sentences. Our poor heroes and heroines are alternately thrown to the lions (eg Salustia), burnt at the stake (eg Croesus), set adrift in the middle of the Mediterranean on a boat with no sails (eg Poppea), beheaded (eg Tito Manlio) and so on ... These scenes of horror are not only thrilling and sundry from a literary standpoint - their musical compositions are equally so. Fear and trembling are never, but never presented in a single, monotonous tone color! Our characters often go through an emotional rollercoaster: from deepest despair to sorrow and anger, from flight to fight, from love and longing to sheer insanity. Truly, a painters box full of affects, inviting composers to go wild with musical expression. 'Scenes of Horror' is a baroque cabinet of grotesqueries featuring music by Georg Friedrich Handel, Attilio Ariosti, Antonio Vivaldi and Carl Heinrich Graun. As you may imagine, the Baroque librettists were not the only ones who derived sadistic pleasure from seeing their characters suffer. We also found a devilish delight in sending Laila Salome Fischer through this program's series of nightmares.

Nikola Medtner: The Last Three Piano Sonatas
Benjamin Bertin, piano
ATMA Classique ACD22894
Release: 16 February 2024
Of the fourteen piano sonatas composed by the Russian composer Nikolai Medtner (1880-1951), Canadian pianist Benjamin Bertin has selected the last three sonatas for his ATMA Classique debut album. These sonatas represent a contrasting and fascinating portrait of the mature composer at the peak of his powers. In terms of ingenuity of form, diversity of mood and character, and overall mastery of craft, these final works are akin to those of Beethoven, who inspired Medtner throughout his life. Benjamin Bertin's playing has been awarded a number of prizes and scholarships throughout his career, including the Bourse de fin d'etudes doctorales (Universite de Montreal), the Marek Jablonsky Piano Endowment (Banff Center), as well as full fellowships from Art of the Piano Festival (Cincinnati Conservatory) and Orford Musique Artist Residencies (Quebec). A committed chamber musician and duo partner, Bertin has collaborated with members of the Boston Symphony, l'Orchestre symphonique de Montreal, Edmonton Symphony Orchestra, and Bang on a Can All-Stars in projects reaching across five centuries ranging from Reich to Monteverdi. As a member of Les Solistes de l'Orchestre 21, he performed the Canadian premiere of Pierre Boulez' Sur Incises in Montreal in 2021. After studies at Brandon University and Bowling Green State University, Benjamin received an Artist Diploma from Columbus State University where he studied with Alexander Kobrin. He completed a Doctorat en interpretation at the Universite de Montreal under the mentorship of Paul Stewart, serving as his studio assistant. Summer music festival appearances include Art of the Piano (OH), Washington International Piano Festival, Clear Lake Chamber Festival (MB), Adamant Piano Masterclasses (VT), Gijon International Piano Festival (Spain), Academie de l'Ete musical de Barachois (NB), and Porto PianoFest (Portugal).

Louis-Philippe Bergeron, natural horn; Meagan Milatz, piano
ATMA Classique ACD22864
Release: 16 February 2024
Natural horn player Louis-Pierre Bergeron and pianist Meagan Milatz look to Beethoven as the point of departure for their new album, Bravura. The composer's Sonata Op 17, a masterpiece, is the first true sonata for horn and piano in the history of music. More than forty years separate the five works on this album ranging from the classical period with Righini and Sussmayer, to Beethoven's successors Krufft and Potter, whose music demonstrates the evolution of the Romantic style. Since October 2017, Louis-Pierre Bergeron is the proud 4th horn of the National Arts Centre Orchestra. Previously, he was third horn with Orchestre symphonique de Montreal, second horn with Orchestre Metropolitain, and solo horn with Orchestre symphonique de Trois-Rivieres. He still collaborates frequently with Les Violons du Roy. Bergeron studied with John Zirbel at McGill University and at the Aspen Music Festival and School, and natural horn with Teunis van der Zwart at the Amsterdam Conservatory. An avid champion of the natural horn, he has performed and recorded with prestigious early music ensembles, notably the Freiburg Baroque Orchestra, Tafelmusik, and Europa Galante. Bergeron gives educational concerts with his woodwind quintet Ayorama, and for seniors in longterm care with Moon Palace, a duo with his partner, NACO cellist Julia MacLaine. Chosen as one of CBC's '30 hot Canadian classical musicians under 30', Meagan Milatz has appeared as a soloist alongside orchestras such as the Edmonton, Regina, Sherbrooke, and McGill Symphonies. She was top prize winner in the Shean Piano Competition, CFMTA National Piano Competition, and Canadian Music Competition, as well as a recipient of a Sylva Gelber Music Foundation Award. She is also grateful for the support of the Canada Council for the Arts. Milatz regularly shares the stage with top international musicians including Andrew Wan, concertmaster of the Orchestre symphonique de Montreal; Stefan Dohr, Principal Horn of the Berlin Philharmonic; and cellist Matt Haimovitz, with whom she was featured in two concerts for the Ladies Morning Musical Club series in Montreal. In 2022, she was named co-artistic and executive director of Concerts noncerto.

Buzz Cuivres
ATMA Classique ACD22897
Release: 16 February 2024
For its first album for ATMA Classique, Buzz Cuivres (Buzz Brass) presents Heritage, featuring an array of important works for brass by composers Victor Ewald, Axel Jorgensen, and Oskar Bohme, who have left a rich legacy of chamber music for brass. All the works on the program were composed specifically for brass instruments at the beginning of the twentieth century and showcase their beauty and virtuosity. Around 1820, the invention of valves finally enabled brass instruments to play all the notes in the chromatic scale, as woodwinds and strings had long been able to do. This technical progress spurred musicians to perfect their art and created a climate in which performers could flourish, leading to what might be called a 'golden age' of brass writing. This is what this recording is all about. The Canadian quintet Buzz Cuivres has been travelling the world and captivating classical music lovers since 2002. Whether alone or with guest musicians, Buzz Brass's highly original performances consistently make a strong impression. The ensemble has given over 1,800 concerts and won over more than 450,000 music lovers across North America, Europe and China. Over the years, Buzz Cuivres has earned numerous awards and honours - including Canada's Opus, ADISQ, and Trille Or prizes - in recognition of the quality and renown of its performances.

Boismortier: Don Quichotte chez la Duchesse
Ensemble Caprice
ATMA Classique ACD22860
Release: 16 February 2024
Ensemble Caprice under the direction of Matthias Maute presents Joseph de Boismortier's baroque opera-ballet Don Quichotte chez la Duchesse, featuring singers Arthur Tanguay-Labrosse (Don Quixotte), Dominique Cote (Sancho Panza), Catherine St-Arnaud (Altisidora) and Geoffroy Salvas (Merlin and Montesinos). Charles-Simon Favart's 1743 libretto brings to life the characters of Miguel de Cervantes' masterpiece: Glory-loving Don Quixote, who wants to live like a valiant knight guided by the noblest ideals, but with no sense of reality, and his inseparable 'squire' Sancho Panca. The dramatic plot offers a series of intrigues as wild as those of Cervantes. The score of Don Quichotte chez la duchesse used for this recording was transcribed from Boismortier's manuscript by violinist Olivier Brault, member of Ensemble Caprice and Sonate 1704. This is the manuscript score prior to the performances of the time, preserved at the Bibliotheque nationale de France; the commonly used engraved edition dates from after the premiere and includes changes that were introduced following the initial performances.

Anthony Rozankovic: Origami
Louise Bessette, piano
ATMA Classique ACD22895
Release: 16 February 2024
With her latest recording, Origami, pianist Louise Bessette unveils a few pages from the musical journal of Montreal composer Anthony Rozankovic. His 'origami music' or 'score sculptures' are alternately dissonant, syncopated, consonant, lyrical, or chaotic, according to film producer Carl Leblanc, author of the album's liner notes. Eleven of the sixteen pieces on Origami started out as film music, with the composer conveying intense emotions - from the fate of migrants (Errance) to a greeting card in the form of a paper bouquet at Auschwitz (Origami). Among the other works are four concert pieces including Mosaique therianthropique and La Jungle jongle, composed for Louise Bessette.

Alfredo Catalani: La Falce
Orchestra Classica Italiana, Fabrizio Da Ros, Paoletta Marrocu, Fabio Armiliato
Opera Discovery 24261-05
Release: 16 February 2024
Despite the growing influence of the 'verismo' style of opera during the 1880s and early 1890s, Alfredo Catalani chose to compose in a more traditional manner, which showed traces of German symphonism. Catalani was a sensitive and delicate composer who died at the age of thirty-nine.
Much admired by Arturo Toscanini, today his works are rarely performed in the theatre. La falce, on a poetic text by Arrigo Boito, was his first opera and was created at the Teatro del Conservatorio in Milan on 19 July 1875. His symphonic Prologue is an authentic masterpiece and all this short opera will thrill you with its dark colours and the passionate phrasing of the protagonists.

Chopin: Variations in B flat major; Sonata in B flat minor and other selected works
Aleksandra Swigut, piano
Release: 16 February 2024
A new recording by a talented young Polish pianist with great charisma, laureate of the International Chopin Competition on Period Instruments. The album, from the series The Real Chopin, features Variations on 'La ci darem la mano,' Scherzo in C sharp minor, Barcarolle, Mazurkas Op 67, Sonata in B flat minor and Contredanse in G flat major, and Chopin's own Improvisations on Prelude in E minor, dedicated to Szabolcs Eszteniyi. Aleksandra Swigut, whose first CD (with works by Robert Schumnann, recorded with cellist Marcin Zdunik) the Institute released in 2014, plays here on an 1858 Erard piano from the NIFC (Narodowy Instytut Fryderyka Chopina) collection.

Path to the Moon - Britten, Simone, Takemitsu, Debussy, Boulanger, Walker, Korngold, Price, Fauré
Laura van der Heijden, cello; Jams Coleman, piano
Chandos CHAN20274
Release: 16 February 2024
The performers write: 'Selecting the repertoire for our album Path to the Moon, we wanted to explore several possibilities for binding together a programme. To place different works alongside one another is a wonderful way of bringing out new and unusual qualities in each piece. William T Horton's fantastic image The Path to the Moon immediately inspired a flurry of ideas, including works about both night and the moon, as well as pieces which invoke the exploratory nature of humankind's voyage to the moon. Britten wrote his Sonata for Cello and Piano only two years after the first object made by humans had touched the surface of the moon (1959). Humans throughout history and from all cultures have been drawn to and taken inspiration from the moon and we have tried to reflect this in our eclectic choice of song repertoire. As we hope you will hear on this album, Walker's Cello Sonata rings with echoes of the sound-worlds of blues and jazz and is infused with a beautiful lyricism. We really believe that Walker's Cello Sonata deserves to become a staple of the chamber music repertoire and are absolutely thrilled to offer you a recording of it in the context of our own exploration of a path to the moon.'

Brahms: Cello Sonatas; Schumann: Fünf Stücke im Volkston
Ronald Brautigam, Christian Poltéra
BIS Records BIS2427 (SACD)
Release: 16 February 2024
Six years after their acclaimed disc devoted to Mendelssohn's works for cello and piano, Christian Poltéra and Ronald Brautigam now tackle the two cello sonatas by Johannes Brahms, two central works in the repertoire, unquestionably the most important since those by Beethoven. The First Cello Sonata was composed between 1862 and 1865 when Brahms was in his thirties. He seemed intent on showcasing the lyricism of an instrument that is often compared to the human voice. Composed 24 years later, the Second Cello Sonata makes greater use of the cello's range, particularly in the upper register. A common feature of these two sonatas is that the role of the piano is never secondary (Brahms was an excellent pianist) and the dialogue between the two instruments is both inexhaustible and complex. he programme also includes the Fünf Stücke im Volkston (Five Pieces in Folk Style) by Robert Schumann, Brahms's early mentor. Composed in Schumann's late years, this short cycle reflects the composer's taste for small, expressive pieces in, as the title suggests, a popular and accessible idiom. These miniatures draw their charm not only from the cello's marvellous nuances but also from the 'folk style'.

Orfeo Vecchi: Six-voice Motets
Cappella Musicale Eusebiana, Carlo Montalenti, Don Denis Silano
Dynamic CDS8001
Release: 16 February 2024
Held in high esteem by his contemporaries, Orfeo Vecchi stands out as a remarkable figure with regard to the sacred repertoire he produced from the late 1500s. Respectful of the written texts while elegantly expressing pictorial content through subtle dialogue, antiphony and counterpoint, the twenty pieces of the Motectorum sex vocibus liber tertius form a rich and eclectic collection that fully reveals Vecchi's mastery and religious inspiration. This first recording has been made by musicians involved in recovering the wealth of unpublished materials held in Vercelli Cathedral, where Vecchi studied and worked for much of his career.

Stefano Golinelli: Two Piano Sonatas - Gran Sonata No 2 Op 53 in E minor; Sonata No 1 Op 30 in D flat major
Loredana Brigandì, piano
Dynamic CDS7990
Release: 16 February 2024
Stefano Golinelli was an acclaimed virtuoso pianist who was also appreciated as a composer in his day. He played an important role in the nineteenth-century Italian musical renaissance, but his name has faded from view over time. The emotional power of Golinelli's music is well represented in his first two piano sonatas, the earliest of which, Op 30, shows the influence of Schumann and Mendelssohn. The Op 53 sonata features a wealth of melodic ideas and musical surprises - its opening is an Italian homage to Chopin, and the work also contains a beautiful Andantino movement.

Arnold Rosner: Orchestral Music, Vol 4
London Philharmonic Orchestra / Nick Palmer
Toccata Classics TOCC0710
Release: 16 February 2024
The musical language of the New York-based Arnold Rosner (1945-2013) clothes the modal harmony and rhythm of pre-Baroque polyphony in rich Romantic colours, producing a style that is instantly recognisable and immediately appealing. This fourth Toccata Classics album of his orchestral music opens with an engaging and energetic early Scherzo and a Concerto Grosso that has something of the dignified reserve of the Swiss composer Frank Martin, whom Rosner much admired - as the broadly expressive Variations on a Theme by Frank Martin go on to show. Rosner's A Mylai Elegy, a symphonic poem inspired by a massacre of civilians in Vietnam, has few equals in the orchestral repertoire: it veers from profound sadness to wild, freewheeling anger - protest music at its grandest and most passionate.

Ferdinand Thieriot: Chamber Music Volume Two
Hamburg Chamber Players: Ian Mardon, Matthias Bromann, Julia Mensching, Olga Lubotsky, Suren Arisonyan, Clovis Michon, Andrea Merlo, Alexander Bürkle
Toccata Classics TOCC0101
Release: 16 February 2024
The Hamburg-born Ferdinand Thieriot (1838-1919) not only shared a teacher - Eduard Marxsen - with Brahms; both composers use a very similar musical language, one which is richly melodic and effortlessly contrapuntal. The musicologist Wilhelm Altmann wrote that 'Thieriot's chamber music is without exception noble and pure. He writes with perfect command of form and expression' - as the works on this second Toccata Classics volume prove, in their exquisite balance of depth and beauty.

Oskar Merikanto: Organ Music
Jan Lehtola, organ of Tampere Cathedral, Finland
Toccata Classics TOCC0715
Release: 16 February 2024
Oskar Merikanto (1868-1924) made an enormous contribution to music- making in Finland, and to organ music in particular, as teacher, virtuoso performer and authority on performance practice, reforming the approach to the organ in both church and concert-hall. It was thought that all of his organ music was known and recorded, but recent discoveries have added a number of previously unknown works to his catalogue: a striking concert fantasia, an early funeral march, some pedal studies, a vast series of chorale preludes - some of them beautifully crafted miniatures, others only aphoristic ideas - and an organ transcription of a piano piece by Mendelssohn.

Walter Niemann: Piano Music Volume One
Tomasz Kamieniak, piano
Toccata Classics TOCC0484
Release: 16 February 2024
The largest part of the output of the Hamburg-born composer and writer Walter Niemann (1876-1973), a student of both Humperdinck and Reinecke, is piano music: an astonishing thousand or so pieces, divided into 189 opus numbers. Most of them are lyrical miniatures in a warm and approachable late-Romantic style, some evoking the music of the past. Occasionally, though, as in Hamburg, a recollection of scenes from his childhood, a degree of mild dissonance indicates his desire to stay true to his memories of growing up in a port city.

Klingende Thüringer Residenzen
Capella Jenensis
Rondeau Production ROP6255
Release: 16 February 2024
On its latest CD, Capella Jenensis presents a fascinating insight into the unique musical landscape of Thuringia during the Baroque period. The diversity of the small states of Thuringia is reflected in the works of several outstanding composers who received their artistic inspiration from all over Europe in the court chapels of this region. The ensemble performs works by Andreas Oswald, Christian Herwich, Adam Drese, Johann Krieger, Johann Michael Nicolai and others. The recording presents previously unpublished pieces from the Gothaer Partiturbuch Ludwig, the Dübensammlung Uppsala and other important manuscripts and thus offers a unique listening experience and a vivid picture of the musical diversity of the Baroque period in Thuringia.

Carl Loewe: Herr Oluf und das Meer - Songs, Ballads, and Recitations
Felix Rathgeber, Christian Rohrbach, Clemens Nicol
Rondeau Production ROP6247
Release: 16 February 2024
The program presented on this CD, featuring songs and ballads by Carl Loewe along with texts and poems by Heinrich Heine, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Max Frisch, and Ingeborg Bachmann, reflects the human relationship with the sea in various ways. Carl Loewe, who as cantor and organist was an important figure in Stettin in the mid 1800s, was so inspired by the sea during his travels that he wrote many songs and ballads that thematise the sea. This live recording of a song recital is one of the programs where the art forms of song interpretation and recitation complement each other to create a comprehensive dramaturgy. Nina Röder's paintings also inspire the listener visually, expanding the horizons of the program. The viewer is led to enchanted places in the works from her series 'Über das Verschwinden' (About Disappearance) and encounters mysterious beings. This visual yet poetic perspective completes the circle by confronting the transience of humanity and nature - a theme more relevant than ever in times of climate change and rising sea levels.

Jürgen Golle: Chamber Music - Solang die Menschen Menschen sind (As long as people are people)
Calliope Duo (violin-piano); Andrea Chudak, soprano; Maria-Anja Hübenthal, harp
Rondeau Production ROP6251
Release: 16 February 2024
The Calliope Duo, consisting of Artashes Stamboltsyan, violin, and Sarah Stamboltsyan, piano, present the musical work of German composer Jürgen Golle (born 1942) on this CD. The duo is accompanied by Andrea Chudak, soprano, and Maria-Anja Hübenthal, harp.



Ludwig van Beethoven: Complete 35 Piano Sonatas
Tamami Honma, piano
Divine Art DDX21001 (10 CDs)
Release: 9 February 2024
Experience the full scope of Beethoven's musical evolution with this comprehensive collection of his 35 piano sonatas, meticulously organized in chronological order to offer a panoramic view of his artistic journey, tracing Beethoven's transformative progression as a composer. While opus numbers traditionally guide the dating of Beethoven's works, exceptions abound, notably in the case of the Opus 49 Sonatas. This collection challenges the conventional exclusion of the early 'Kurfürst' Sonatas, shedding light on Beethoven's formative years as a composer. Musicologist Professor Barry Cooper's advocacy for their inclusion finds resonance in this comprehensive set. Tamami Honma brings these sonatas to life with precision, adhering closely to Cooper's editorial corrections in the ABRSM edition. Cooper's meticulous research, comparing original manuscripts, early editions, and historical sources, ensures an authentic interpretation of Beethoven's intentions, from note values to nuanced articulation.

Rachmaninov: Études-Tableaux Op 39
Yoav Levanon, piano
Warner Classics (digital only)
Release: 9 February 2024
A 'powerful' young pianist whose musical mentors include Daniel Barenboim, András Schiff and Murray Perahia, Yoav Levanon released his debut album on Warner Classics, A Monument for Beethoven (2022) aged just seventeen years old. At nineteeen, he presents a digital EP of Rachmaninov's nine Études-Tableaux Op 39, the composer's last work before his self-imposed exile from Russia after the Russian Revolution in 1917.

From Handel's Home: The Keyboards of Handel Hendrix House
Julian Perkins
Delphian Records DCD34314
Release: 9 February 2024
Handel Hendrix House in London's Mayfair holds a substantial collection of keyboard instruments - spinet, organs, and harpsichords - both original from Handel's own day and reproductions, representing a roster of some of the greatest names from Kirckman and Snetzler to Goetze & Gwynn and Bruce Kennedy's copy of the Colmar Ruckers harpsichord. From these instruments the acclaimed and ever-thoughtful keyboard specialist Julian Perkins has created a very special recital, conjuring a treasure trove of the timbres and sounds that would have been heard when Handel and his colleagues played music in these very rooms: original works and arrangements by the master himself and his contemporaries, with Carole Cerasi joining as duet partner for Handel's sumptuous Suite in C minor.

The Path Above the Dunes - Chamber music by Nicola LeFanu
Gemini Ensemble, Ian Mitchell
Métier MEX77112
Release: 9 February 2024
Gemini, one of Britain's most distinguished ensembles specialising in new music, present their exceptional new album of works of renowned composer Nicola LeFanu. This exceptional recording, produced for Métier, showcases a harmonious blend of vocal and chamber compositions, including a timeless gem from the ensemble's longstanding collaboration with LeFanu dating back to the 1970s.

Alexander Ffinch, organ
Divine Art DDX21112
Release: 9 February 2024
Parallels is meticulously curated album that explores the organ's remarkable breadth and sonority. Featuring three monumental organ works and delightful arrangements of English classics, the collection is a testament to the grandeur and versatility of the instrument. Florence Price's Suite No 1 makes its debut commercial recording. This substantial and captivating composition draws inspiration from spirituals, hymns and pentatonic themes, showcasing a harmonious fusion of jazz influences. The album's title, Parallels, reflects Florence Price's artistic vision, aiming to convey a heritage through the past while being influenced by contemporary contacts. This intention is beautifully realised in Suite No 1. As a nod to the present day, the album includes Alexander's own arrangement of Coldplay's hit single Paradise, seamlessly blending modernity with Price's timeless compositions. Parallels is not just an album; it's a transformative auditory experience that invites listeners to explore the intersections of tradition and innovation on the Harrison and Harrison organ.

In Two Minds - Duo Menurida
Laura Chislett, flute; Edward Cowie, piano
Métier MEX77121
Release: 9 February 2024
Renowned Australian flautist Laura Chislett and composer Edward Cowie craft a rich tapestry of sonic colours and inventive possibilities. This profound ritual of spontaneous outpourings invites listeners on an immersive journey, experiencing the direct transmission of sensory encounters through eight tracks that shape the discovered music of the moment. The album offers a unique fusion of musical expression and the natural world, inviting audiences to join in this extraordinary sonic exploration created through skilled and instinctive improvisation. The creative synergy between Chislett and Cowie, first sparked in 1989 during Cowie's tenure at The Australian Arts Centre in Townsville, North Queensland. Fast forward to 2022, when Laura travelled to England for a transformative recording project with Cowie, unaware that it would coincide with his decision to return to Australia. Motivated by a desire for a final adventure in the expansive Australian landscape, Edward Cowie embraced the opportunity to explore untapped musical potential since his departure in 1995. The resulting album bears witness to the duo's shared experiences and draws inspiration from both the Australian and British landscapes.

John Carmichael: Toward the Light
Antony Gray, St Paul's Sinfonia, Andrew Morley
Divine Art DDX21103
Release: 9 February 2024
Divine Art presents the enchanting works of Australian composer John Carmichael in this extraordinary collection. Carmichael's distinctive neo-Romantic style, an exquisite fusion of originality with echoes of Rachmaninov, offers a lush musical journey that will resonate with a broad audience, particularly those less inclined towards avant-garde new music. This album boasts a diverse selection of duos, solos, and a Piano Concerto characterised by exuberant pianism harmoniously paired with a string orchestra, culminating in a Caribbean-flavoured final movement. Carmichael's compositions extend to a Piano Trio, Towards the Light, spotlighting the viola in works designed to elevate this often-overlooked instrument. The collection is further enriched by a Divertimento for flute, oboe, clarinet, and piano, giving the listener a varied repertoire where melodic elements take centre stage. Collaborating with Carmichael are some of highly talented artists, including acclaimed pianist Antony Gray. Join us in this celebration of the potential in new orchestral and chamber music, where Carmichael's melodic brilliance and the artistry of our distinguished performers converge to create a truly remarkable album.

Like to a flower - Choral music by Annabel Rooney
The Choir of Christ's College, Cambridge / David Rowland
Regent Records REGCD570
Release: 9 February 2024
'Like to a flower' is the second album dedicated to the music of Annabel Rooney, following the success of 'As a seed bursts forth', released in 2019. These beautiful and approachable settings of traditional texts bring a fresh and original voice to the growing repertoire of sacred choral music by female composers. The disc opens with a 'mini' Evensong: Introit; Preces; Psalm; Magnificat & Nunc Dimittis; Responses and Anthem, together with a Mass, anthems, and motets for all the seasons of the church's year. Annabel Rooney read music at Christ's College, Cambridge, and continued her studies in Cambridge with postgraduate research on eighteenth-century opera. Rooney turned to composition comparatively late, when her youngest child was starting school, mostly writing choral music. Her music has been performed by many choirs in the UK and overseas, including Exeter and Ely Cathedrals, Bath Abbey, York Minster, the Chapel Royal, and King's Voices and broadcast on Choral Evensong on Radio 3.

Cuckoo: Seven New Works for Violin
Steve Bingham, violin
Prima Facie PFCD227
Release: 9 February 2024
Utilising everything from solo acoustic violin to six-string electric violin, loops and recorded birdsong - via electronic backing, multi-layered violins and delay effects - it's a heady mix of styles and compositional approaches which Steve Bingham takes in his stride, revelling not only in the differences between the works but also in the unexpected links that crop up; palindromic elements, birdsong, loss and more. Cuckoo confirms Bingham as a truly eclectic performer, following - as it does - albums that included pop covers, the Bach D minor Partita, film music by Michael Nyman, improvisation and more. Bingham writes: 'On this album I wanted to explore the juxtaposition of seemingly disparate music which is bound together by one straightforward element - the violin. The album has been possible because of the creativity of seven very talented composers, and I'm proud to have been able to record these works for the very first time.' Steve Bingham trained at the Royal Academy of Music in London and is a founder member of the Bingham String Quartet, with whom he has recorded and toured widely. He is also known for his unique solo recitals using a mixture of acoustic violin, electric violin and live-looping. Steve is in demand as a recording artist and has appeared on tracks and albums with several bands and artists including No-Man (Steven Wilson and Tim Bowness), Steve Hackett, Ian Anderson, Judy Dyble, Grice, Colin Edwin, Robert Reed and more.

Reves - Ysaye: Concerto in E minor; Poeme Concertant
Philippe Graffin, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, Jean-Jacques Kantorow, Marisa Gupta
Avie AV2650
Release: 9 February 2024
Reves, the new album by acclaimed French violinist Philippe Graffin, features two world-premiere recordings of freshly discovered concertos by Belgian virtuoso violinist and composer Eugene Ysaye - the complete Violin Concerto in E Minor and Poeme Concertant. Rounding out this beautiful album are gems for violin and piano: 2 Mazurkas de Salon, Op 10, and Reve d'enfant. The first recording of the complete Violin Concerto in E Minor by Belgian virtuoso violinist and composer Eugene Ysaye has arrived! Following the recent discovery of a first movement, further manuscripts which complete the work have come to light - one a full orchestration, others for violin and piano - which were found on opposite sides of the Atlantic. Philippe Graffin's close collaboration with Ysayoe aficionado Xavier Falques led to a page-by-page analysis and painstaking reconstruction of the musical puzzle pieces, resulting in this recording of the full, three- movement concerto which displays Ysayoe's trademark ardour, intensity and originality. For reasons unknown, Ysayoe abandoned his Violin Concerto in E minor in 1885, but some years later embarked on another, Poeme concertant, which was also recently discovered in manuscript form and is imbued with passion and the love Ysayoe felt for his pupil Irma Sethe. Their love was mutual but their relationship could not endure, possibly sealing the fate of Poeme concertant which lay undiscovered for over a century but is now brought back to life with this world- premiere recording. Philippe rounds out the recording with three Ysayoe gems for violin and piano: two Mazurkas de Salon, Op 10, works the violinist / composer frequently performed and gained popularity throughout Europe and Russia in his lifetime; and Reve d'enfant ('A child's dream'), which he dedicated to his youngest son Antoine.

Extemporize - Schubert Impromptus and Fugues
Shuann Chai, fortepiano
Cobra COBRA0091
Release: 9 February 2024
Schubert's Impromptus are not without their quirks and curiosities, and Shuann Chai used this recording as an opportunity to delve deeper into them. In doing so she was also introduced to the two delightful Fugues (D 24a and D 24c ) that accompany the impromptus on this album. Schubert's Impromptus drew Shuann Chai in because they are full of contradictions. An 'impromptu' suggests a piece that's light in character, not too dramatic, not very long - the opposite of, say, a sonata in four movements. While these Impromptus are musically very approachable, they are also powerful, often quite dark, deep, and pianistically challenging. Also, the suggested element of improvisation is interwoven with a feeling of narrative. There are certainly moments of capriciousness or surprising modulations throughout, but the pieces themselves are very formally organized, much more prescribed than what one would expect, say, in a 'fantasy'. What intrigued her was this tension between spontaneity and structure, a paradox which Schubert exploits and expands to great dramatic effect. This paradox can also be found in the Fugues on this album. Fugues and Impromptus are at first sight to very different forms of music: they are constructed in almost diametrically opposite ways, but artistically speaking, they are two sides of the same coin. Schubert's fugues are searching for the freedom within their strict contrapuntal framework, and his Impromptus are works of imagination and great expression that are grounded by their formal architecture. Shuann Chai is a soloist and chamber musician who performs on a wide range of early to modern pianos, bringing the emotional content of music from the past to listeners in the present. Recognized by critics as 'a graceful virtuoso', she has been praised for performances that are 'sensitive and communicative, ... full of warmth an emotion.' Recent projects include performances of the complete Beethoven Sonatas for Violin and Piano with Shunske Sato; giving masterclasses at CodArts Rotterdam and the Conservatory of Maastricht; and concerts in Japan, Taiwan, and several festivals in Europe.

Amulets - Matre / Ness / Rehnqvist
NoXaS Saxophone Quartet, Berit Norbakken, Nordic Voices
Release: 9 February 2024
NoXaS Saxophone Quartet was established in 2007 and since then has distinguished itself as a high-quality ensemble with several collaborations with elite Norwegian musicians and ensembles. NoXaS has cemented its position as a significant asset to the Norwegian music scene. Since its inception, the quartet has maintained an ongoing dialogue with composers regarding the development of new works for this exciting form of ensemble. This has resulted in several new pieces specifically commissioned for NoXaS. The quartet has collaborated with composers such as Olav Anton Thommessen, Orjan Matre, Jon Oivind Ness, Ketil Hvoslef, and Henrik Hellstenius. Formed in 1996, the six-voice a cappella group Nordic Voices is comprised of graduates from the Norwegian Academy of Music and the Norwegian Academy of Opera who, in addition to their singing backgrounds, have a broad range of experience from choral conducting to teacher training and composition. Their close work together with a wide range of composers have led to more than seventy first performances. Nordic Voices master a wide spectrum of musical styles, ranging from folk music and renaissance music to new works commissioned by composers from all over the world. In concert, Nordic Voices often presents programme concepts revolving around themes, for example, historical figures or textual links, bringing the music to life in sometimes unexpected ways. Berit Norbakken is one of Scandinavia's leading sopranos. Her versatility and flexibility of voice have allowed her to master a repertoire ranging from Baroque to contemporary, including folk music. She regularly appears in performances of oratorios, passions, and masses, and continues her work with leading ensembles, orchestras and conductors in major concert halls all over the world. Her many recordings have garnered high critical acclaim both in Norway and abroad. In particular her recording of Arriaga's vocal music, together with the BBC Philharmonic under the baton of Juanjo Mena has received glowing reviews internationally.

Antonio Bononcini: Cantate per Contralto con Violini
Ars Antiqua Austria, Gunar Letzbor, Alois Muhlbacher
Challenge Classics CC72925
Release: 9 February 2024
The fourteenth disc by Ars Antiqua Austria and Gunar Lezbor for Challenge Classics presents first recordings of three Cantatas for countertenor and violins. Under the rule of the enlightened Emperor Joseph I, many composers from the north of Italy took up appointments in Vienna. Antonio Bononcini was one of the most progressive composers of his time. We present here three cantatas by Bononcini from 1706. They were most probably first presented in musical academies. His amorous chamber cantatas captivate through their intimate, timeless beauty. The sensual violins engage in an entertaining competition with the longing, dreamy lines of the alto voice. The cantatas recorded here all concern themselves with the sorrows and longings of love for a distant partner. They seem to have been conceived as a cyclic construction in which each piece exists in relationship to the others.Bononcini was a master of musical rhetoric and achieves a masterly combination of musical figures with poetic phrasing. These sensuous works were most probably performed on the occasion of noble academies. From the turn of the century, musical presentations were often designated as academies. With this new definition, academies were little by little also presented by lesser nobles and later even by the bourgeoisie.

Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach: Wurttemberg Sonatas
Keith Jarrett, piano
ECM New Series  4858495 (2 CDs)
Release: 9 February 2024
Keith Jarrett's account of Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach's Wurttemberg Sonatas is a revelation. 'I'd heard the sonatas played by harpsichordists, and felt there was room for a piano version', says Jarrett today. This outstanding recording, made in 1994 and previously unreleased, finds the pianist attuned to the expressive implications of the sonatas in every moment. The younger Bach's idiosyncrasies: the gentle playfulness of the music, the fondness for subtle and sudden tempo shifts, the extraordinary, rippling invention ... all of this is wonderfully delivered. The fluidity of the whole performance has a quality that perhaps could be conveyed only by an artist of great improvisational skills. In Jarrett's hands, CPE's exploration of new compositional forms retains the freshness of discovery. Recorded at Keith Jarrett's Cavelight Studio in May 1994, the album includes liner notes by Paul Griffiths.

Claude Lenners: Insect Hotel
Claude Lenners, Ensemble Noise Watchers Unlimited
Release: 9 February 2024
The project 'Insect Hotel' is not limited to just one topic. In a sense, it covers four different areas. In addition to the central aspect of contemporary music, which, as the art of setting music, goes hand in hand with poetics and literature, it is also about the world of insects. A game developed very early on that involved choosing a different language for each setting, for each number in the cycle. Given the high number of languages worldwide, the cycle turns out to be rather modest. With twenty-four text settings, each in a different language, there is no attempt to be complete. Rather, it is a collection of scores and texts with the central theme of 'insects', with many variants that illuminate the species 'insect' from different perspectives. The project takes us through a world where languages and insect species are rapidly becoming extinct. It is an adventure trip with countless diary entries and numerous overnight stays in the insect hotel, where you can listen to the rustling of the insects. The 116-page booklet (in German, English and French versions) contains all the texts set to music in all twenty-four languages with the respective translations. The composer Claude Lenners (born 1956) studied at the conservatories of Luxembourg and Strasbourg and musicology at the University of Human Sciences II in Strasbourg. His catalog of works includes a variety of chamber music scores, symphonic works and several Stage works. He is the founder of the rainy days festival, of which he was artistic director until 2005, the founder of the asbl Noise Watchers Unlimited and the electronic music class at the Luxembourg City Conservatory. The Ensemble Noise Watchers Unlimited is based in Luxembourg and has made it its mission to perform new and current works of contemporary music. It usually plays in small chamber music ensembles and regularly performs at the Luxembourg Philharmonic's annual rainy days festival.

French Connection
Niek de Groot, double bass; Catherine Klipfel, piano
Orlando Records OR0036
Release: 9 February 2024
During the two decades Catherine Klipfel and Niek de Groot have been playing together, they have often focused on the French repertoire; a shared love. Catherine is French and Niek has many musical roots in France. Within this repertoire the colour spectrum of the double bass together with the richness of the piano create new timbres and open new horizons. The idea of making an album with a complete French repertoire therefore seemed like a logical idiomatic step.

Zayt Gezunterheyt: The Folk Soul of the Eastern Clarinet
Roeland Hendrikx Ensemble
Antarctica AR054CD
Release: 9 February 2024
This album features a collection of composers with diverse backgrounds, including Glazunov, Prokofiev, Khachaturian, Kokai, and Jan van der Roost, showcasing a fusion of Eastern and Western musical elements. The composers share a common toolbox of themes and techniques, emphasizing the unity in diversity across different cultural influences, providing a cohesive and well-integrated musical journey. The clarinet is presented as the central and ultimate interpreter of this musical lore, underlining its significance and role in conveying the essence of Eastern art music. The disc promises to offer a holistic musical experience, bringing together various cultural threads through the common medium of the clarinet, providing a well-rounded and immersive listening experience. If Eastern art music has a folk heart, its arteries are Roma and Klezmer sounds. From the orientalist imagination of Glazunov, the Jewish adoption of Prokofiev, the Uzbek inspiration of Khachaturian, to the Romani-Hungarian roots of Kokai and the Balkanism of Jan van der Roost: all composers on this disc build on the same toolbox of themes and techniques, and they all rely on the clarinet as the ultimate interpreter of this lore. Acknowledged and exquisitely performed by the Roeland Hendrikx Ensemble.

New Guitar Works - Klara Tomljanovic, Alberto Carretero, Marton Illes, Vito Zuraj, Steingrimur Rohloff, Nikolaus Brass, Detlef Heusinger
Klara Tomljanovic, guitar
Release: 9 February 2024
At first glance everything seems quite straightforward: a classical concert guitar doesn't weigh much and can easily be taken anywhere. Casually propped on the knee, not much preparation is necessary to start playing. We have to forget about all of this because this collection of new works is about strength and power. About physical borderline experiences and about a sound spectrum that remains a mystery: How can these sounds come out of an acoustic guitar? And how did they get in there? As a matter of fact, everything you hear in this recording comes from nothing more than a guitar played by a musician. No use had been made of live electronics or the like, even though sometimes the music sounds as if there had been. Only a few mechanical means were used to expand the scope of common playing techniques. Klara Tomljanovic knows all the composers involved personally, some of them for many years; and perhaps it is this longstanding bond of trust that makes this challenging otherness of the guitar possible in the first place. Added to that, both the performer and the composers were deeply committed to this project: Not only could the composers - who are not guitarists - borrow an instrument from Tomljanovic's, but also were encouraged to make use of the guitarist's playing techniques, which she had developed over decades, in joint try- outs. Possibly both fuelled the sometimes hazardous love of experimentation. Paradoxical or not: what started with the soloist's personal abilities, playing techniques and physical conditions led, in the end, to an immense expansion of these very capacities. Born in Slovenia and based in Karlsruhe and Basel, guitarist Klara Tomljanovic studied at the Hochschule fur Musik Freiburg as well as at the Musik-Akademie Basel. Already during her studies, she became interested in contemporary music and started playing in the Aleph Guitar Quartet; the beginning of her international career. In 2021 she received a grant from the Ernst von Siemens Music Foundation, together with the Festival Imago Sloveniae. With their support, four composers - Marton Illes, Steingrimur Rohloff, Tomaz Bajzelj and Alberto Carretero - were commissioned to write a piece of music for her.

Simone Santi Gubini: The Black Exposition
Ensemble Musikfabrik, Carl Rosman, Patrick Stadler
Release: 9 February 2024
Simone Santi Gubini (born 1980, Rome) is particularly interested in music as an intense physical experience. In music as a request to satisfy. Using highly textural developments, extreme ambiguity and overexposed tones, the composer forms a raw and tangible sound. He creates maximum contrast on every musical parameter and a continuous burst of shift in relations to build new ones, forcing the established perception to break. The brutality of loudness and the relentless intensity of the music demand great physical strength from the performer and a state of absolute control whilst losing it. The body of instruments (hyper-instrument) mediates the enormous release of sound onto the audience. A sound of accelerated impact manifesting shock. Shock as an intense music experience. Since its foundation in 1990, Ensemble Musikfabrik (Landesensemble NRW) has had the reputation of being one of the leading ensembles for contemporary music. In keeping with the literal meaning of its name, Ensemble Musikfabrik is particularly concerned with commissioning and producing new works, often in close collaboration with composers. The results of their extensive endeavors are performed by the international Cologne-based soloist ensemble in numerous concerts in Germany and abroad, at festivals, in the self-organized concert series 'Musikfabrik im WDR' and 'Montagskonzerte' (often with live broadcasts), and in audio and video productions. The recording of Schmelzpunkt on 27 October 2023 was the last recording in the renowned Hans Rosbaud Studio in Baden-Baden before it was closed for good.

YANG Jing: Singing Strings - Identity
Yang Jing, pipa; Festival Strings Lucerne Chamber Players
Release: 9 February 2024
YANG Jing was born in China at a time when the so-called Cultural Revolution, which lasted from 1966 to 1976, greatly shaped her childhood. It wiped out all traditional, so-called bourgeois culture to a degree that we can scarcely believe even today. Mao's wife Jiang Qing postulated that only proletarian art and literature was acceptable, which for her had its real beginning only in 1963; all previous creative works were to be regarded as reprehensible and decadent. As one of the four leaders of the Cultural Revolution, who were later dubbed the Gang of Four, she was largely responsible for the attempt to wipe out China's cultural heritage. Only so-called models, six Peking operas and two ballets newly written for the purpose of popular education, were permitted. Although Mao Zedong had described tradition as a 'living current' a few years earlier, he allowed the Cultural Revolution organized by the Gang of Four to take place. In addition to spiritual impoverishment, this also brought a material impoverishment due to the brutal liquidation of a large part of the so-called elites along with all supposed and actual dissidents; the chaos that accompanied the social transformation led to famines. Almost all artists and musicians were deprived of their particular skills as part of the 'rebuilding,' and were to be 're-educated' through agricultural work organized in camps so that the historical heritage they had received thus far, as well as any foreign influence, would be eradicated. Perhaps this explains YANG Jing's interest in Chinese tradition, which is revealed through her instrument, the pipa, and her music. Like scarcely any other Chinese composer, she succeeds in creating an amalgam of Western and Eastern musical languages, which is particularly evident here in the juxtaposition of the pipa with the string quartet. This combination of instruments is almost symbolic of the intersection of different worlds, which is all too often avoided in the standardized cultural industry.

Gershwin: Rhapsody in Blue; Second Rhapsody for Piano and Orchestra; Cuban Overture; Tower: 1920/2019; Stucky: Dreamwaltzes
Kevin Cole, National Orchestral Institute Philharmonic / David Alan Miller
Naxos 8559934
Release: 9 February 2024
This album presents three classic Gershwin pieces heard in premiere recordings of the new Gershwin Critical Edition. The edition seeks to create the most accurate representation of the composer's intentions using all existing manuscripts and other sources, such as piano rolls. In the case of Rhapsody in Blue the edition is based on Ferde Grofé's svmphonic arrangement though 44 measures from the original jazz band version are included. Also featured are the Second Rhapsody and the Cuban Overture, alongside Joan Tower's propulsive study in rhythm and texture, and Steven Stucky's ghostly waltz evocations.

Elisabetta regina d'Inghilterra ('Elizabeth, Queen of England')
Serena Farnocchia, Patrick Kabongo, Mert Sungu, Veronica Marini, Mara Gaudenzi, Luis Aguilar, Kraków Philharmonic Chorus, Kraków Philharmonic Orchestra / Antonino Fogliani
Naxos 8660538-39 (2 CDs)
Release: 9 February 2024
Rossini's rarely performed Elisabetta regina d'Inghilterra was his first opera for the Teatro di San Carlo in Naples. With the composer showcasing and indeed recycling some of his best music, it was an enormous success and allowed him to become established as the leading opera composer in Italy. The story revolves around Queen Elizabeth I (Elisabetta), whose romantic attachments expose her to murderous intrigues, and ends with her renouncement of love itself. This fast-moving production under the baton of Antonino Fogliani was described as 'a colourful, sparkling festival of music' in Die Deutsche Bühne.

Henri Vieuxtemps: Voix intimes - Rarities for Violin and Piano
Vilmos Csikos, violin; Olivier Lechardeur, piano; Manon Lamaison, soprano
Naxos 8579149
Release: 9 February 2024
This instalment in the Naxos survey of Vieuxtemps' lesser-known chamber and instrumental works includes more unearthed gems for violin and piano, performed by Vilmos Csikos and Olivier Lechardeur. Among the discoveries is the first recording of the Fantasy for Voice, Violin and Orchestra featuring the young soprano Manon Lamaison in a wordless vocalise.

Czerny: Nocturnes
Roberte Mamou, piano
Naxos 8574581
Release: 9 February 2024
Carl Czerny is remembered as Beethoven's favoured interpreter of his own piano works and is well known as List's teacher, but it is for his pedagogic works, still in use to this day, that he continues to enjoy renown. The Nocturnes offer a less familiar view of Czerny. These sensitively shaped, small-scale Biedermeier compositions offered domestic households the opportunity to savour their sense of delicacy and enigmatic mood changes. The Op 604 set is rather more robust than Op 368, which is exquisitely sensitive, but equally convincing in characterisation and scope.

Schubert + Brahms
Can Çakmur, piano
BIS Records BIS2680 (SACD)
Release: 9 February 2024
For his series called Schubert+, pianist Can Çakmur juxtaposes the complete major piano solo compositions by the Viennese composer with works by other composers who were inspired by his music, thus providing the opportunity to see these works in a new light. While making up a near complete anthology of Schubert's completed major piano music, each disc is also intended as a self-contained recital. In this second instalment, Çakmur performs pieces published after Schubert's death, the three Klavierstücke, D 946, which are not known to have been intended as a new series of impromptus. Since their first editor was Brahms, it seemed logical to include one of his late cycle of miniatures, here the Vier Klavierstücke, Op 119. The pieces by Schubert and Brahms share a spontaneity, even an apparent lightness, that often conceals an unsuspected depth beneath the surface. The programme concludes with the Four Impromptus, D 935, an ambitious cycle also published after Schubert's death. Schubert's name would become closely associated with this genre, often characterised by a lyrical melody and a free-flowing structure, with a sense of spontaneity. With it, Schubert seems to have found an ideal setting for the expression of his genius.

Henrik Hellstenius: 'Public Behaviour'; Together
Nordic Voices, Hans-Kristian Kjos Sörensen, Ellen Ugelvik, Jennifer Torrence, Kai Grinde Myrann, Stavanger Symphony Orchestra / Ilan Volkov
BIS Records BIS2665 (SACD)
Release: 9 February 2024
Henrik Hellstenius has always sought to explore music more freely than by simply mastering the classics. His language, which draws its inspiration from the modes of expression of his time, takes shape in the course of his work through sound, movement, rhythm and silence, as well as in his encounters with musicians and their instruments. Here, much of what is expressed is part of an intense inner monologue: a litany of doubt, affirmation and frustration being whispered, said, sung and shouted. Everything about these two works, from their titles to their modes of expression, suggests that they are directed outwards towards society in general and towards individuals. Public Behaviour is about how we act together in an age of extreme individualism. The work presents musical situations in which the soloist, vocal ensemble and orchestra depict encounters and conflicts around the theme of the individual versus the collective space. Together is a meditation on the relationship between 'me and the other'. The question is how we relate to the people we meet, work with and live with. The versatile vocal ensemble Nordic Voices performs both works and is joined by some of the best musicians on the Norwegian contemporary scene.

Mozart: Requiem in D minor, K 626
Genia Kühmeier, Elisabeth Kulman, Mark Padmore, Adam Plachetka, Chor und Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks / Mariss Jansons
BR Klassik 900117
Release: 9 February 2024
It is difficult to say anything about Mozart's famous Requiem - the masterpiece having been described and analysed all too often. It is known to almost everyone in the world, either in its entirety or in large parts, or is familiar to them at the very least from its title. Almost everybody has come into contact with the Requiem's music, whether from the concert hall or merely from watching Miloš Forman's 1984 film drama 'Amadeus'. What breathes new life into this work and this music time and again are congenial performances with outstanding casts. A true highlight in the performance history of the Requiem was Mariss Jansons' interpretation of it in May 2017, which absolutely delighted the Munich concert audience and was also highly acclaimed by the trade press. Under Jansons' direction, the Bavarian Radio Chorus and the Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks gave of their best, with an excellent quartet of vocal soloists rounding off the outstanding ensemble. This made the performances of Mozart's Requiem in the popular completed version by his student Süßmayr a truly memorable experience. The live recording from the Herkulessaal of the Munich Residenz was made on 11 and 12 May 2017.

Philip Glass: Truth in Our Time
Canada's National Arts Centre Orchestra, James Ehnes, YAO, Alexander Shelley
Orange Mountain Music OMM0166
Release: 9 February 2024
Truth in our time performed by Canada's National Arts Centre Orchestra under the direction of conductor Alexander Shelley, is an album that is a musical and poetic rumination on the concept of truth... Shelley states: 'A few years ago, we thought about the role of our Orchestra as a national ensemble. We asked ourselves what are the big themes of our age - climate change? Autocracy vs democracy? Pandemics? Identity politics? Freedom of speech? Behind each of those important issues lay the question of our perception of truth. Where do we get our information and how do we judge its veracity? Is there such a thing as objective truth?' Humanity is at the core as the album continues with Shostakovich's Symphony No 9 (1945). In the same year on the other side of the world - a composer who had fled the Europe because of the war, Korngold, composed his Violin Concerto for Jascha Heifetz. The concept of truth, what was true for Shostakovich or Korngold, seems to be an issue of personal artistic integrity. The same is true with this first recording of Philip Glass's Symphony No 13. Commissioned to honour the memory of journalist Peter Jennings, in a period of strife worldwide for journalists, Glass himself pushed back on the idea of music having the ability to express any definite ideas about truth.

Ralph Vaughan Williams: Retrospect
Jack Liebeck, violin; Andrew Staples, tenor; Thomas Carroll; London Choral Sinfonia / Michael Waldron
Orchid Classics ORC100289
Release: 9 February 2024
This new album of music by Ralph Vaughan Williams, the latest by the London Choral Sinfonia and Michael Waldron, features collaborators including violinist Jack Liebeck and tenor Andrew Staples. The collection includes works such as Vaughan Williams's Violin Concerto; 'In Windsor Forest,' adapted from the opera 'Sir John in Love;' and 'Prelude on Gibbons' Song 13,' newly orchestrated for strings. Among these adaptations are Vaughan Williams' own transcriptions of J S Bach's works, including the 'Giant' Fugue and 'Schmucke Dich' chorale, reflecting his admiration for Bach's music. The album contains poignant pieces like 'Nothing is here for tears', a sombre response to King George V's death, and 'Land of our birth', an homage to Britain's World War II victory. Highlighting string arrangements including the seminal 'Silent Noon', arranged for strings by Owain Park, as well as first recordings, the album underscores Vaughan Williams' musical adaptations and their ties to British legacies.

Dathanna: Hues and Shades
Berginald Rash, clarinet; Fiona Gryson, harp
Orchid Classics ORC100278
Release: 9 February 2024
'Dathanna: Hues and Shades' is the debut album from clarinetist Berginald Rash and harpist Fiona Gryson, offering late romantic and fin-de-siècle character pieces in a unique chamber setting. Created amidst the challenges of the pandemic, this album reflects a journey of resilience and artistic exploration. It began as a dream to celebrate blends of tonal textures and evolved into a testament of strength and endurance. The music is an intimate portrayal of tonal elements and musical expression, capturing subtle nuances, finger movements, and ambient sounds to create an atmosphere reminiscent of nineteenth century salon concerts. 'Dathanna' takes listeners on an emotional journey—a celebration of chamber music's vulnerability and subtle beauty. It marks not just a debut, but a deliberate exploration of timbre and tonal virtuosity within the unique combination of clarinet and harp. Rash and Gryson delve into intricate tonal hues, inviting audiences to appreciate the vibrancy and depth of these much loved compositions through a fresh and intimate lens.

Cushendall - Irish Song Cycles - Charles Villiers Stanford
Sharon Carty, mezzo; Benjamin Russell, baritone; Finghin Collins, piano
SOMM Recordings SOMMCD 0681
Release: 9 February 2024
SOMM Recordings continues its acclaimed championing of the music of Charles Villiers Stanford with Cushendall, a captivating collection of his Irish song cycles by mezzo-soprano Sharon Carty, baritone Benjamin Russell and pianist Finghin Collins. Twelve first recordings include the seven-part Cushendall, a trio of Blarney Ballads, and two songs from Stanford's opera Shamus O'Brien. Composed during a period of political turbulence in his native Ireland, the Irish song cycles, Stanford's biographer Jeremy Dibble comments in his authoritative notes, 'undoubtedly articulate an increasing sense of regret, isolation and personal nostalgia [for what] was no longer the country and home he had known from his youth'. Setting poems by Ulster-Scots poet John Stevenson, Cushendall evokes the landscape and way of life on Antrim's coastline in some of Stanford's most sophisticated music with allusions to Irish folksongs and Wagner's Die Walküre. A Fire of Turf sets Winifred Letts' reflections on 'the passing seasons of the year... an analogy with the protagonist's recollection of his past life... memories kept alive by the glowing warmth of the turf'. A Sheaf of Songs from Leinster contains six variegated songs, again setting Letts; the Blarney Ballads delightfully wicked lampoons of Britain's then Prime Minister, Gladstone; the highly popular Shamus O'Brien providing two contrasting arias.

L'Arlésienne - Georges Bizet - Complete stage music for Alphonse Daudet's play
Jon Tolansky, narrator; Jacques Noureddine, saxophone; Orféon Donostiarra; Antxon Ayestarán, chorus master; Orchestre national du Capitole de Toulouse / Michel Plasson
SOMM Recordings SOMMCD 0682
Release: 9 February 2024
A revelatory new perspective on Georges Bizet's much-loved L'Arlésienne with the re-issue of his complete stage music for Alphonse Daudet's play and a new dramatization of Daudet's original short story by Jon Tolansky. First staged in 1872, L'Arlésienne is, as Tolansky remarks in his illuminating notes, an 'evocative and poignant tale about broken love set in a small Provençal community'. One that inspired Bizet 'to compose some of the most heartrendingly poignant tones he ever created'. More familiar in the two Suites extracted from the theatrical score, L'Arlésienne is heard here in its original, complete version, reconstructed by Dominique Riffaud in a rare, 1985 recording by Orféon Donostiarra and Orchestre national du Capitole de Toulouse conducted by Michel Plasson. A bonus track features a new adaptation of Daudet's short story, dramatized and narrated by Tolansky, and illustrated by musical excerpts from Bizet's incidental music.

Antonín Dvořák: Symphonies Nos 7 & 8
Deutsche Radio Philharmonie / Pietari Inkinen
SWR Classic SWR19130CD
Release: 9 February 2024
In 1884, Antonín Dvořák undertook his first concert tour to England. This was to become a highlight of his career to date and brought him international recognition and economic security. It was a time of private and professional bliss. It is interesting to note, however, that the Seventh Symphony by no means reflects a consistently pastoral, idyllic atmosphere. On the contrary, the music often has a dramatic and sombre effect. It is possible that Dvořák was coming to terms with the blows of fate he had suffered: he had lost his mother and three children. Four years after the premiere of the Seventh Symphony, Dvořák set to work on his Eighth, which differed substantially from it. In the Seventh, he still adhered to the form of the classical symphony according to Beethoven, but in the Eighth he gave preference to melody over form. It leads through the work, creating the impression of a 'sequence of atmospheric poetic pictures'.

Beethoven Op 131 and Op 132 - 1924 recordings
Léner Quartet
Biddulph Recordings 85042-2
Release: 9 February 2024
The Léner Quartet was the first ensemble to record all of Beethoven's 16 string quartets. Hailing from Budapest, Hungary, three of the members had been pupils of the famed Jenő Hubay the Léner Quartet was perhaps the pre-eminent string quartet of the 1920s. After their successful UK debut in 1922, British Columbia signed the quartet. Besides the Beethoven cycle, they recorded much Haydn and Mozart, as well as the complete Brahms quartets. The two late Beethoven quartets included on this CD are the acoustical version made in 1924. Although they were supplanted in the catalogue by electrically recorded versions made a decade later, most connoisseurs of chamber music regard these earlier recordings as superior. Furthermore, their rendition of Beethoven's A-minor Quartet has an important literary reference, where it becomes a central image in the final chapter of Aldous Huxley's 1928 novel Point Counter Point. The moving description of the Heilige Dankgesang and its effect on the main character Spandrell in the last minutes of his life is a tribute to the intensity of the performance.

Trio - Polish Contemporary Music for Flute, Violin and Cello
Jan, Szymon and Adam Krzeszowiec
CD Accord ACD328
Release: 9 February 2024
The Krzeszowiec brothers - Szymon (known from the Silesian String Quartet and Wajnberg Trio), Jan (LutosAir Quintet, NFM Wrocław Philharmonic), and Adam (the Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra, Polish Cello Quartet) are artists with a well-established status in the Polish music world. All three teach on a regular basis at the Karol Szymanowski Academy of Music in Katowice. Each of them pursues an artistic path of his own. What they share is a love of chamber music and a passion for discovering contemporary repertoire, both of which occupy a special place in their artistic work. TRIO is their original project, which draws on the experience of each of these three individualities. When performing their repertoire, specially written for, and (in most cases) dedicated to the trio, they communicate without words, discovering a com- mon musical language. The composers of the works on this album are distinguished and highly regarded Polish composers: Paweł Szymański, Aleksander Nowak, Rafał Augustyn, Krzysztof Meyer, Zbigniew Bargielski, and Elżbieta Sikora. The compositions on this album have never been released before; this is their first recording.

Secrets of Armenia - Piano works by Christophor Kara-Murza; Genary Korganov; Romanos Melikian
Yulia Ayrapetyan, piano
Grand Piano GP945
Release: 9 February 2024
The music in this collection reflects the spirit of Armenia through dances and songs that have their origins in scenes from everyday Armenian life. Korganov's pictorial Bayati is an especially vivid representation, while Kara- Murza's Pot-pourri sur des airs arméniens is a significant work, combining Armenian folk music with the Western piano tradition. Melikian's Emeralds is one of his famous cycles of romances, hallmarked by a strong sense of poetic narrative and a vivid emotional expressiveness. This album of Armenian piano discoveries is played by Yulia Ayrapetyan, a specialist in the music of Armenia.

Hera Hyesang Park, soprano; Orchestra del Teatro Carlo Felice / Jochen Rieder
Deutsche Grammophon
Release: 9 February 2024
Soprano Hera Hyesang Park unveils Breathe, her second album for Deutsche Grammophon. Following her debut release I am Hera, Breathe explores the bravery humans require to emerge from life's most difficult circumstances and thrive - as expressed through operatic classics by Rossini, Verdi, Massenet and others, alongside contemporary works by such composers as Luke Howard, Cecilia Livingston, Hyowon Woo and Bernat Vivancos. The album was recorded in Genoa with the Orchestra and Chorus of the Teatro Carlo Felice and conductor Jochen Rieder, and Hera is joined on select tracks by mezzo-soprano Emily D'Angelo. Hera performs repertoire from Breathe at 2024 Seoul Fashion Week on 1 February 2024 and in recital on 13 February 2024 at Seoul's Lotte Concert Hall. Breathe grew out of the existential questions that beset so many of us during and after the pandemic. At a particularly low point in the pandemic, Hera came across the words of the Seikilos Epitaph - the oldest surviving complete musical composition - including the phrase 'While you live, shine.' After completing the recording, the soprano was inspired by a vivid dream to try free-diving, an unfamiliar and dangerous skill for someone who uses their breath professionally but rarely holds it. 'As I held my breath underwater, I experienced the most beautiful breath, unlike anything I had ever known,' Hera says, 'All thought ceased and I simply existed. There was a deep sense of peace.' The album opens with Australian composer Luke Howard's While You Live, specially adapted to include the words of the Seikilos Epitaph. Hera has made a music video for this track, out on release day, directed by Argentinian film-maker Mariano Nante. Shot at the Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires, the video takes the soprano on a dreamlike voyage from an abandoned opera house to the middle of an infinite ocean, where Hera can be seen free-diving in live-action footage recorded without special effects or stunt doubles. Hera's choice of contemporary repertoire also includes Catalan composer Bernat Vivancos's Vocal Ice, a work inspired by Michelangelo's Pietà; the central movement of Breath Alone, written for Hera by Canadian composer Cecilia Livingston, and premiered by the soprano at Carnegie Hall in March 2023; and an excerpt from Requiem aeternam by fellow South Korean Hyowon Woo, in which Hera is accompanied by the ajaeng, a traditional Korean string instrument. Breathe strikes a poignant note through Hera's portraits of individuals facing the threat of death with 'unwavering determination and resilience.' First among these is the real-life inspiration used by Górecki in his Symphony No. 3 - the prayer scratched on a prison wall by a young Polish girl arrested by the Nazis in 1944. From the operatic canon, Hera has chosen Cecilia's dying confession from Licinio Refice's 1934 retelling of the saint's martyrdom, as well as an extract from the ending of Rossini's L'assedio di Corinto, in which Pamira, her servant Ismene (Emily D'Angelo) and their Greek companions choose death in the face of the Turks' conquest of Corinth. Additional works selected for this album include portraits by both Rossini and Verdi of Shakespeare's Desdemona, doomed to fall victim to Othello's jealous rage. Verdi's 'Ave Maria' for the tragic heroine is mirrored by a version of the same prayer set to the well known 'Méditation' from Massenet's Thaïs (arr. Matthias Spindler), preceded by an excerpt from the French composer's Le Cid. The album also incorporates the classic 'Evening Prayer' from Humperdinck's Hansel und Gretel and 'Flower Duet' from Delibes' Lakmé, both of which feature Emily D'Angelo alongside Hera, and a beautifully expressive rendition of 'In trutina' from Orff's Carmina burana.



Richard Wagner: Die Walküre
Laila Andersson-Palme, Eliasson, Lisbeth Balslev, Aage Haugland, Leif Roar,
Minna Nyhus, Spliid, Steengard, Jansen, Danielsen, Rye, Mogensen, Møller, Paaske, Aarhus Symphony Orchestra, Francesco Cristofoli
Sterling CDA1870 (3 CDs)
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.

Jean Sibelius: Karelia Suite; Rakastava; Lemminkäinen
Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra / Susanna Mälkki
BIS Records BIS2638 (SACD)
Release: 2 February 2024
The Helsinki PO can with justification be regarded as 'Sibelius's own orchestra', as it was this orchestra, usually conducted by the composer, that premièred most of his major works. On this disc of three such pieces, the orchestra is conducted by Susanna Mälkki. Although they were all later revised, the three works here all originated within a very short period in Sibelius's career: the years 1893-96, a time when he was beginning to establish himself as a composer and a time of national awakening. One of his most popular works, the Karelia Suite is drawn from a series of tableaux that evoked events in the history of Karelia, the region where Finland and Russia meet. In late nineteenth century Finland, the promotion of Karelian folk culture was both fashionable and politically relevant. The short suite Rakastava is a subtle reworking of a work for male voices based on lyrical poems from the collection Kanteletar; Sibelius often conducted it in concert. Sibelius often drew inspiration from the epic Kalevala, and episodes from this poem provide the subject matter of Lemminkäinen, a substantial four-movement suite (including the captivating Swan of Tuonela) that recounts the adventures of a daredevil hero, a sort of Nordic Don Juan.

David Lang: The Little Match Girl Passion
Molly Netter, Sarah Brailey, Trio Mediaeval, Kate Maroney, Gene Stenger, Dashon Burton, Jeffrey Douma
Cantaloupe Music CA21184
Release: 2 February 2024
In producing an update of his Pulitzer-winning the little match girl passion, composer David Lang sought to deliver '... a leaner version of the piece, a more human version, one that emphasizes every breath, and that heightens the individuality of each singer.' Featuring inspired performances by singers Molly Netter, Kate Maroney, Gene Stenger and Dashon Burton, who are joined by the renowned Trio Mediaeval — on the bonus track 'I want to live', as well as an updated version of 'just (after song of songs)' — and Sarah Brailey, performing the album premiere of 'let me come in', this new recording accomplishes everything that Lang set out to explore, opening up fresh vistas of accessibility to a beloved work in modern choral music.

Bruckner: Symphony No 2 (1872 Version)
ORF Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra / Markus Poschner
Capriccio C8093
Release: 2 February 2024
The most comprehensive Bruckner Symphonies cycle, including all available versions. Capriccio's 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's Second Symphony is rarely heard in its 1877 version, and it has remained virtually unperformed in the 1872 original version. This is not because of any deficiency in Bruckner's earlier ideas compared with the later alterations. It's mainly down to habit and convenience, since acquiring new parts and re-learning a score with many detailed differences requires significant extra effort and resources. That's a pity, because it is well worth discovering the original rawness of Bruckner's early masterpiece, something rarely heard since its creation, until now.

Josef Labor: Piano Concertos for the left Hand; Wittgenstein Concertos
Oliver Triendl, piano; Deutsche Staatsphilharmonie Rheinland-Pfalz / Eugene Tzigane
Capriccio C5521
Release: 2 February 2024
Although the Concertos for Piano (left hand) by Korngold, Prokofiev, Ravel and others may be better known, it was Josef Labor who marked the beginning of the genre in 1915 with his first Konzertstück for Piano (left hand) and Orchestra. It was commissioned by Paul Wittgenstein, who had lost his right arm in Russia during the First World War, but was determined that his career should progress nonetheless. Labor was part of Johannes Brahms' close circle of friends who, at the age of three, had lost his sight due to smallpox. Composition was a luxury for him, in that he had to rely on the help of an amanuensis to commit his works to paper. Labor's music is very skillfully composed, always sensuous and, above all, melodious. These first recordings represent a high-point in Capriccio's Labor-Edition, which for a number of years has been spotlighting the sensitive music of this largely forgotten composer.

Franz Schmidt: The Piano Album
Karl-Andreas Kolly, piano
Capriccio C5526
Release: 2 February 2024
Franz Schmidt was not only a brilliant cellist, but also a gifted pianist who mastered almost the entire piano repertoire with ease. Nevertheless, he had a kind of love-hate relationship with the piano, since his great passion was for the organ. This did not prevent him, however, from writing numerous works for the left hand alone, all of them commissioned by the one-armed pianist Paul Wittgenstein and including the Beethoven Variations, Piano Concerto in E-flat major and Quintets. Schmidt's output for piano two-hands, however, comprised only one work - the melancholic Romance, which he dedicated to his English teacher Geoffrey Sephton in 1922. Karl-Andreas Kolly remarks: 'The fact that I have decided to arrange three of Franz Schmidt's organ works for piano has primarily to do with my great passion for his music. And also a little with my hope that in a piano version, his organ works might possibly reach a wider audience'.

Grażyna Bacewicz: Complete Orchestral Works, Vol 2 - Symphony No 2; Musica sinfonica; Overture; Variations for Orchestra
WDR Sinfonieorchester / Łukasz Borowicz
CPO 555660-2
Release: 2 February 2024
In her own words, Grażyna Bacewicz (1909-1969) had been gifted by nature with a 'small, invisible engine' that allowed her to do in ten minutes what others needed an hour for. This inner drive can be demonstrated in all areas of this Polish artist's life. She was an excellent violinist from an early age, had success as a writer and already wrote her first compositions as a teenager - all at a dizzying pace. Even so, the quality of her works are not superficial in the least. This is the second in a series of her complete symphonic works. After presenting her Symphonies Nos 3 and 4, works from the early 1950s, Borowicz and the WDR SO perform more examples of Bacewicz's wealth of expression. These include the neoclassical outbursts of the Overture (1943) and the Second Symphony (1951), the sophisticated, already strongly timbre-oriented Variations for Orchestra (1957) and Tre movimenti, by which time Bacewicz had achieved her 'late' style - the so-called 'sonorism', in which the colour of sound plays an essential structural role. After these 'three movements', the 'small engine' ran for almost another four years - this phenomenal musician had completed everything faster than the others.

Giovanni Battista Pergolesi: La Serva Padrona; Livietta e Tracollo
Amanda Forsythe, Christian Immler, Alessandro Quarta, Carlotta Colombo, Jesse Blumberg, Boston Early Music Festival Chamber Ensemble, Paul O'Dette, Stephen Stubbs, Robert Mealy
CPO 555622-2 (2 CDs)
Release: 2 February 2024
Early opera took a peculiar turn in the seventeenth century. Bowing to the demands of paying customers, more and more superfluous comical elements were layered upon the fates of great heroic characters. At some point there was a backlash, and the opera seria, where only noble figures are found, came into being. Episodes of slapstick were set apart from the opera and played in front of the curtain between acts to entertain the audience. The two most renowned of these intermezzos, Giovanni Battista Pergolesi's Serva padrona and Livietta e Tracollo, were recorded by the Boston Early Music Festival in Bremen last autumn after several live performances. These two capriccios were real 'hits' during the composer's (very short) lifetime and still keep their Neapolitan charm and wit even today. Two irresistible stories are featured - a maid who uses clever sophistication to conquer the heart of her master and the turbulent 'robber story' of a cunning peasant girl who puts a villain on the right path to marriage.

Franz Schubert, arranged by Andreas N Tarkmann: Die schöne Müllerin
Klaus Florian Vogt, Ensemble Acht
CPO 555549-2
Release: 2 February 2024
Franz Schubert's Fair Maid of the Mill as a premiere recording? Anyone who makes this claim on the international record market would inevitably be confronted with a storm of outrage. Unless, of course, the release announced as a world premiere has something unprecedented to offer - and the present CD production certainly does. Instead of the original version for voice and piano, which has been performed countless times, cpo offers a new, thoroughly successful rendering. The accompaniment, if the instrumental part can be called that at all, is played by the highly successful octet Ensemble acht. Star tenor Klaus Florian Vogt sings the twenty moods of the enamoured miller, who in the end drowns himself due to his despair... The expanded sound palette is the work of the accomplished and insightful arranger and composer Andreas N Tarkmann, who has illuminated the romantic nuances of the colourful piano part with an almost poignant feeling for poetic drama.

Francesco Bartolomeo Conti: Bravo! Bene! - Arie con varie strumenti
Valer Sabadus, Hana Blazikova, Franz Vitzthum, Florian Götz, nuovo aspetto, Michael Dücker
CPO 555552-2
Release: 2 February 2024
When Francesco Bartolomeo Conti arrived in Vienna in 1701 at the age of twenty, he quickly found a position as theorbo player at the Imperial Court orchestra. His virtuoso skills on the plucked instruments of the time must have been considerable and were sufficient to assure him of a good income. But beyond this, Conti was a remarkable creative spirit. Upon his death in 1732, he left an impressive number of staged works behind, several of which were quite well known. This was not least thanks to their original and imaginative instrumentation, ranging from the extremely comical to subtle vocal-instrumental dialogues, thus embracing the entire world of 'affect'. Led by soprano and harpist Hana Blažíková and countertenor Valer Sabadus and accompanied by ensemble nuovo aspetto under the direction of theorbo player Michael Dücker, the present production is a small musical anthology whose fascinating content is three hundred years young.

Boris Papandopulo: The Complete String Quartets; Guitar Quartet; Clarinet Quintet
Sebastian String Quartet, Davorin Brozić, Krešimir Bedek
CPO 555469-2 (3 CDs)
Release: 2 February 2024
The Croatian composer Boris Papandopulo (1906-1991) has had a place in our catalogue for many years. Concertante works and chamber music with piano have been featured thus far, allowing us to experience this astonishing and idiosyncratic musical luminary, even when (relatively rarely) employing modern compositional methods. cpo now presents a new addition to the multifaceted profile of this remarkable artist with the publication of his string quartets. These represent virtually the entire creative lifespan of this Zagreb-based composer. We hear the influence of folk music, the inevitability of the socialist-realist doctrine as well as experiments with the compositional achievements of the West - all of these combine to form a great musical 'documentary'. The incredibly expressive clarinet quintet, written during wartime, and the short, playful guitar quartet play a significant role here.

Georg Druschetzky: Oboe Quartets, Vol 2
Grundmann Quartett
CPO 555370-2
Release: 2 February 2024
The composer of the chamber music recorded here was one of the many musical talents who left the Bohemian countryside to find a suitable position in the German-speaking world. Georg Druschetzky (1745-1819) initially chose a military career, becoming a well-known timpani virtuoso and soon falling into the graces of the Hungarian nobility, who appreciated his virtuosity, administrative skills and his unique creativity. This contemporary of Haydn and Mozart was an inexhaustible source of entertainment, especially in the area of chamber music for winds. Without rebelling against the great classical forms, Druschetzky knew how to surprise his listeners constantly with a subtle refinement that almost seems written for the historical instruments of oboist Eduard Wesly and the Grundmann Quartet. These four musicians are completely in their element, just as on their first album.

Anton Bruckner Project: The Symphonies (Organ Transcriptions), Vol 9 - Symphony No 9 in D minor
Hansjörg Albrecht, organ
Oehms Classics OC485 (2 CDs)
Release: 2 February 2024
This series marks the 200th anniversary of the birth of Anton Bruckner, which falls in 2024. It's dedicated to Bruckner's symphonies, most of them recorded in new transcriptions for organ by Hansjörg Albrecht. This 10th album was made on the organ at Fraumünster in Zürich using Erwin Horn's transcription of Bruckner's 9th Symphony and incorporating Gerd Schaller's completion of the finale, which Bruckner left unfinished.

Outi Tarkiainen: Midnight Sun Variations; Songs of the Ice; Milky Ways; The Ring of Fire and Love
Nicholas Daniel, cor anglais; Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra / Nicholas Collon
Ondine ODE1432-2
Release: 2 February 2024
Outi Tarkiainen (born 1985) has rapidly risen to the ranks of Finland's internationally most successful composers. She studied with Veli-Matti Puumala and Eero Hämeenniemi at the Sibelius Academy and went on to study further at the Guildhall School in London and at the University of Miami. Born in Rovaniemi within shouting distance of the Arctic Circle, Tarkiainen explores the nature and culture of the North in many of her works. Midnight Sun Variations was commissioned by the BBC Philharmonic and by the National Arts Centre Orchestra in Canada, and it was premiered under John Storgårds at the BBC Proms in 2019. Commissioned by the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra and the Iceland Symphony Orchestra, Jään lauluja (Songs of the Ice, 2019) is a sibling work to Midnight Sun Variations. Milky Ways (2022), a concerto for cor anglaise and orchestra, was jointly commissioned by the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra, the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra and BBC Radio 3, and it is dedicated to oboist Nicholas Daniel 'in memory of his dear mother'. The Ring of Fire and Love was completed in 2020 and premiered by the Royal Swedish Philharmonic Orchestra under Sakari Oramo.

The Passenger - Weinberg, Schubert
Trio con Brio Copenhagen
Orchid Classics ORC100282
Release: 2 February 2024
This new album from one of today's most popular and sought after piano trios delves into the emotive essence of two young composers — Mieczyslaw Weinberg and Franz Schubert — whose compositions offer an encounter with poignant reflections on life, mortality, and ethereal beauty. Weinberg's Op 24 Piano Trio, conceived in 1945 amidst World War II's turmoil, embodies a haunting portrayal of unrest and despair. Infused with traces of klezmer music, this composition reflects Weinberg's personal journey as a Polish Jew fleeing wartime atrocities, crafting a musical narrative that echoes both tragedy and resilience. Contrasting this, Schubert's Piano Trio No 2, written in 1828, encapsulates a delicate balance between melancholy and elegance. Inspired by the Swedish folk song 'Se solen sjunker', this piece resonates deeply with themes of human solitude and profound sadness, interwoven with moments of exquisite beauty and refinement. As Trio con Brio Copenhagen celebrates their 25th anniversary in 2024, 'The Passenger' follows the group's recent critically acclaimed recording of the complete Beethoven piano trios, and stands as a testament to their illustrious career to date, combining the richness of Viennese roots with a profound musical bond.

Benjamin Britten: Violin Concerto; Double Concerto for Violin and Viola
Baiba Skride, Ivan Vukčević, ORF Radio-Symphonieorchester Wien / Marin Alsop
Orfeo C220021
Release: 2 February 2024
The story of the discovery and resurrection of Britten's Double Concerto for Violin and Viola is one of those rare musicological moments that can capture the interest of even the casual music lover. Britten had started composing it as a very young man but never quite finished it, even though the work had progressed quite far. So, it was only after his death that the premiere took place, in 1997. Unlike that work, the Violin Concerto, Op 15 found itself immediately thrust onto the world's musical stage, its genesis having been rather straightforward, if hardly smooth. Britten had left Great Britain before the outbreak of World War II in Europe and so he composed it in Canada and the US.

Brahms: Piano Concerto No 2; Schubert: 'Wanderer' Fantasy
Elly Ney, piano; Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, Tibor de Machula, Max Fiedler, Alois Melichar
APR APR_5639
Release: 2 February 2024
German pianist Elly Ney's posthumous reputation has, perhaps justifiably, been tarnished by her links to the Nazi regime, but eighty years on it's easier to focus on her pianism and acknowledge she was one of the finest pianists of her generation. A previous APR release (APR7311) presented her interpreting a wide range of composers, but she came to be regarded as one of the great interpreters of the Austro-German repertoire and here she tackles two of the masterworks, including a monumental performance of the Brahms Second Piano Concerto with the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, the first version recorded by a woman. Brahms specialist, Max Fiedler, ostensibly conducts, though our booklet note reveals Alois Melichar as the uncredited conductor who completed the project after Fiedler's sudden death. The suite of Schubert dances which completes the release appears never to have been reissued before.

Joseph Szigeti: Bach, Brahms & Vaughan Williams
Joseph Szigeti, violin; Carlo Bussotti, piano
Biddulph Recordings 85041-2
Release: 2 February 2024
Joseph Szigeti is acknowledged as one of the most eloquent and thought- provoking violinists of the twentieth century. These live performances are by the violinist, accompanied by Carlo Bussotti, from a recital given in Seattle (1955). It includes Bach's Violin Partita No.3, Brahms's Violin Sonata No 3 and Vaughan-Williams's Violin Sonata. Szigeti's performances of the classical masterworks were unparalleled. His Bach interpretations were so renowned that Eugène Ysaÿe dedicated his first unaccompanied sonata to his colleague in acknowledgement of his affinity with the Leipzig master. And Szigeti had a direct connection to Brahms through his teacher Jenö Hubay, who gave the premiere of the Brahms Sonata (with the composer at the piano) that Szigeti plays on this CD. Szigeti promoted works by his contemporaries, in fact, he created a three-concert recital series entitled 'Eleven Masterpieces of the Twentieth Century' that he performed throughout the late 1950s. Although Szigeti made commercial recordings of ten of the works before, he never recorded the Vaughan-Williams Sonata in A minor. This CD offers not only the premiere of Szigeti's performance of the Vaughan-Williams Sonata, but also the first release of his live 1955 renditions of the Bach E-major Partita and Brahms D-minor Sonata.

Nowak, Mykietyn, Wojciechowski
Royal String Quartet
CD Accord ACD325
Release: 2 February 2024
Nowak's String Quartet No 3 derives from a tune sung by Nadia who is looking for her mother. The composition was written in 2019/2020, commissioned by the Royal String Quartet. Mykietyn's String Quartet No 4 written in 2022 was commissioned by the Royal String Quartet and is dedicated to the ensemble. Wojciechowski's Magenta (2021) is a kind of reflection on the historical form of the string quartet. In it we can hear both classical and contemporary playing techniques.

Filharmonia Pana Kleksa (Mr Kleks' Philharmonic)
Chor Dziewczecy NFM, Chor Chlopiecy NFM, Zespol Wokalny Rondo, NFM Orkiestra Leopoldinum, Malgorzata Podzielny
CD Accord ACD327
Release: 2 February 2024
The fairy-tale materiał of this album is the result of collaboration between Michał Ziółkowski, the Wrocław choir mistress Małgorzata Podzielny and the choirs she leads. On the album we can hear the Girls' and Boys' Choirs of the National Forum of Music and the Rondo Vocal Ensemble (bringing together the graduates of the Grażyna Bacewicz Primary Music School in Wrocław, or mare precisely, graduates of another choir - Con Brio). The decorative orchestral tapestry is the work of the NFM Leopoldinum Orchestra. Although Ziółkowski first prepared two of the recorded songs in 2014, the most important part of the material was premiered during the 'Musical Fairy Tales' concert at the Leo Festival in 2021. The remaining songs were performed on the album for the first time. - Szymon Atys, translated by Anna Marks

Szymanowski Reimagined
Bartlomiej Niziol, Andrzej Boreyko, Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra
CD Accord ACD330
Release: 2 February 2024
The latest Warsaw Philharmonic release, Szymanowski Reimagined, takes listeners on a fascinating journey through the musical landscapes of Karol Szymanowski, rendered in a new orchestral guise. The outstanding violinist Bartłomiej Nizioł and the Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra under the baton of Andrzej Boreyko present transcriptions of selected works by this Polish composer. Recorded on this disc are some of Szymanowski's most interesting compositions, representing - as Danuta Gwizdalanka writes in her introductory essay - 'the fascinating and diverse musical worlds of Karol Szymanowski: the youthful world full of ecstasy, and two emotionally more restrained, but musically richer worlds created almost two decades later - one woven from subtle sonorities, the other filled with enigmatic tales'. These works were recorded in the form of a 'translation' of music composed with the piano in mind into a version for the several dozen instruments of a symphony orchestra. The disc contains the Etude in B flat minor, Op 4 No 3 in an arrangement by Grzegorz Fitelberg from 1942, Mythes, Op 30 arranged by Willem Strietman in 1991, and Masques, Op 34 in a symphonic version by Jan Krenz from 1985.

O Beata Virgo Maria - renaissance and contemporary choral works
luminatus, David Bray
Convivium Records CR090
Release: 2 February 2024
This album features relatively unfamiliar and previously unrecorded music written by contemporary female composers, and Renaissance composers. The repertoire features several texts based on a Marian theme. Music by Luca Marenzio, Francisco Guerrero, Tiburtio Massaino, Melissa Dunphy, Kerensa Briggs and Cecilia McDowall.

Ravel: Complete Solo Piano Music, Volume 3
Oleg Marshev
Danacord DACOCD905
Release: 2 February 2024
The final volume of this, the most complete survey of Ravel ́s piano music ever recorded, brings the composer's oblique homages to the world of ancient régime Paris, in his dance suite after Couperin, and the Vienna of Schubert and Johanns Strauss in constrasting transformations of the waltz.

Thomas Jensen Legacy, Vol 20
Christian Esbensen, Danish Radio Chorus, Thomas Jensen
Danacord DACOCD930 (2 CDs)
Release: 2 February 2024
There was no more unprejudiced or enthusiastic promoter of Danish music than Thomas Jensen. Twelve composers are featured here, including Holmboe, Brene, Riisager, Gade, Høgenhaven, Tarp and Weis, 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.

Jakob Lorentzen: Danish Choral Music
Holmens Kantori and Vokalensemble
Danacord DACOCD974
Release: 2 February 2024
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.

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Concertos for Violin and Orchestra Nos 3-5
Benjamin Schmid, Orchestra Musica Vitae
Gramola 99307
Release: 2 February 2024
The Salzburg violinist Benjamin Schmid's preoccupation with the violin works of W A Mozart has now lasted for more than four decades, was initially influenced by the then Mozarteum professors Sándor Végh and Nikolaus Harnoncourt, and received numerous awards as his style of interpretation became increasingly personalised. His first CD recording in 1990 with Mozart's Violin Concertos Nos 1 and 2 with the Mozarteum Orchestra Salzburg led by Hans Graf was also celebrated by reviewers as a discovery. Thirty-two years and hundreds of performances later, Benjamin Schmid now completes his recordings of the violin concertos with the Sweden based Musica Vitae, of which he has been the musical director since last year, and describes his journey as follows: 'As a violinist who grew up in Vienna and Salzburg, Mozart was ultimately always the most important composer for me; I defined this preference as early as elementary school age, and the interest grew with the discovery of the complete works of this probably at least most gifted of all composers. For me, the key to Mozart interpretation lies in the duality of singing and speaking; singing as immediate emotion and phrasing and articulation as form-giving grammar.'

Spätlese - Mozart, Brahms, Chopin
Andreas Eggertsberger, piano
Gramola 99303
Release: 2 February 2024
The pianist Andreas Eggertsberger, who studied in Austria and the USA with Karl Heinz Kämmerling and Oleg Maisenberg, among others, deals with the late works of three composers on his new album 'Spätlese' (Late Harvest): Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Johannes Brahms and Frédéric Chopin. Whether a work is considered a late work has less to do with the composer's age and more to do with where the breaking points and further developments are in a composer's oeuvre. Some of the three selected masters were still young when they entered their late phase: Mozart was in his late twenties when he composed his Fantasia K 475 and Sonata in C minor K 457, Chopin was thirty-four when he composed his third and final Sonata in B minor, and Brahms was fifty-nine when he composed his Three Intermezzi Op 117. Many a future is anticipated. Mozart, for example, builds a bridge to Beethoven with his Fantasy and Sonata in C minor. Chopin, on the other hand, takes a look at late Romanticism and beyond with his increasingly bold harmonies, and Brahms foreshadows musical developments that would only become influential in the twentieth century.

Franz Schubert: Late Piano Works
Ingrid Marsoner, piano
Gramola 99305
Release: 2 February 2024
Ingrid Marsoner dedicates her latest recording to Franz Schubert's late piano works and contrasts the 'Four Impromptus D 899' with the more intimate and much less frequently performed 'Three Piano Pieces D 946'. The Impromptus D 899 were composed in 1827, around a year before Schubert's death and close in time to the 'Winterreise' D 911. The composer was in a particularly gloomy mood at the time and it was certainly no coincidence that he chose such distant keys as G-flat major for the third piece, in keeping with the eerily moving beauty of these works. The 'Three Piano Pieces, D 946' were composed in 1828, the year of Franz Schubert's death. They were not published during his lifetime and were only discovered and published by Johannes Brahms. At the end of his life, Franz Schubert studied counterpoint intensively and even attended a lesson with Simon Sechter, Vienna's first music theory teacher. In the middle section of the first piano piece in particular, one can discover a surprising polyphony for the composer. The CD concludes with the Allegretto in C minor D 915, also composed shortly before his death at the age of thirty-one.

Haydn: Complete Symphonies, Vol 28-31
Heidelberger Sinfoniker / Johannes Klumpp
Hänssler Classic HC23081 (4 CDs)
Release: 2 February 2024
The last few missing symphonies of Haydn were recorded this spring - now our complete recording of all of Haydn's symphonies is finished! The release of all volumes 1-35 Haydn - The complete Symphonies on Hänssler Classic will be in 2024. 'Heidelberg Haydn is a paragon of dynamism, freshness, wildness, humour, and a richness of surprise. I am delighted that the journey continues, and that the cycle is completed. My musical encounters with the Heidelberg Symphony Orchestra have always been journeys to happiness. Idealism, the love of music, and technical perfection combine here with the will to create something very special, and it all fits perfectly into the symphonic world of Joseph Haydn. Full of anticipation, I look forward to the future!' - Johannes Klumpp

Grete von Zieritz: Japanese Songs; Le Violon de la Mort; Trumpet Double Concerto
Sophie Klussmann, Nina Karmon, Oliver Triendl, Jereon Berwaerts, Andre Schoch, Robert-Schumann-Philharmonie / Jakob Brenner
Hänssler Classic HC23065
Release: 2 February 2024
This CD - significantly only the second CD dedicated exclusively to von Zieritz - presents a longitudinal section of her oeuvre. It begins with the Japanese Songs, written in 1919, here in the version for soprano and chamber orchestra from the 1980s. The centrepiece is Le Violon de la Mort, composed in 1953 for violin and piano and arranged for violin, piano and orchestra in 1957, as well as the trumpet double concerto of 1975, the final piece and, as it were, a satyr play. Like Hans Bethge's collection Die chinesische Flote (The Chinese Flute) from 1907, the poetic model of the Japanese Songs belongs to the context of interest in exotic art of the fin de siecle. Gustav Mahler made Bethge's poems the basis for a large symphonic work; Grete von Zieritz took the opposite approach with the Japanese Songs. These are a kaleidoscopic sequence of the briefest miniatures. It would hardly be possible to do otherwise, since the Japanese models are not song texts in the European sense, but poetically condensed sayings that defy conventional song settings. Aphoristic brevity was the order of the day.

Dvořák: Complete Works for Violin and Orchestra
Mikhail Pochekin, Slovak Philharmonic Orchestra / Daniel Raiskin
Hänssler Classic HC23057
Release: 2 February 2024
'I sense a deep humanity in Dvořák's music. He was a great master of orchestration, and he composed unusually beautiful melodies and harmonies. But at the forefront he always presents honesty and generosity. And when we listen to this music, this penetrates deep into our hearts. I consider Dvořák's Violin Concerto to be unique, and it occupies a very special place among all of the violin concertos of this period. Behind its creation lies a very unusual story. The composition dates back to 1879, but its premiere did not take place until 1883, exactly four years later. The reason for this was that the concerto was dedicated to Joseph Joachim, who repeatedly requested a number of changes in the piece. The story subsequently ended in such a way that Joachim, despite the changes and his years of collaboration with Dvořák, ignored the piece when it was completed, leaving it to be premiered instead by Czech violinist František Ondříček.' - Mikhail Pochekin

Jobst vom Brandt: German Songs of the Renaissance
Bettina Pahn, Jeroen Finke, Juliane Laake, Joachim Held
Hänssler Classic HC22018
Release: 2 February 2024
With this CD we present a composer who is almost completely unknown. An astonishing admission, because his work is well documented in Georg Forster's songbooks and his compositions have also been published in print. Georg Forster himself held vom Brandt in high esteem, so much so that he dedicated the third volume of his 'Teutschen Liedlein' to him. This dedication emphasises Forster's high regard for vom Brandt, but he also made dedications to other composers. Forster dedicated Volume II to his former fellow student Eck, Volume IV to Stephan Zirler, and Volume V to Dietrich Schwarz von Haselbach, with whom he had been associated since his Heidelberg days. While on the one hand friendship was important to him, he did not lose sight of quality when he wrote that he had 'picked out the loveliest and worst from all of them'. Forster's collection is aimed at the 'friend and lover of noble music', not at the professional musician. Hence the focus on the fact that he had selected not only the 'loveliest' but also the 'worst' (in the sense of plain or simple). It seemed remarkable that vom Brandt composed during the day, for composing was not his main occupation.

Peter Ruzicka: Benjamin Symphonie; Elegie
Lini Gong, Thomas E Bauer, Kinderchor der Oper Frankfurt, Frankfurt Radio Symphony, Peter Ruzicka
Hänssler Classic HC23053
Release: 2 February 2024
A narrative unfolds in seven stages which reflects Walter Benjamin's flight in suggestive images in which dream sequences and reality interweave. Benjamin's encounters with Hannah Arendt, Bertolt Brecht, Gershom Scholem and Asya Lacis - the woman who tried to persuade him for many years to embrace historical materialism - became the cornerstones of this rhetorical arc. 'These stages', says Ruzicka, 'may represent a unique life story in the twentieth century, whereby in view of the devastation of that century, it is inevitable that the wounds that are thought to have healed are made to bleed again'.

Romantic Songs - so tief im Abendrot - Schubert, Schumann, Brahms
Eilika Wünsch, Bernhard Wünsch, Ramón Jaffé, Stefan Adelmann
Hänssler Classic HC23016
Release: 2 February 2024
Inspired by Franz Schubert's late lieder compositions and works by Johannes Brahms, among others, in which voice and piano are enhanced by another melody instrument, we have taken a completely new approach to our lieder recital repertoire. The result can now be heard on this CD: Songs of the Romantic period, freshly arranged for soprano, violoncello and piano. In art songs, as in chamber music in general, there are often concealed lines within the piano movements which gain greatly in expression through the accompaniment of a solo instrument. For this reason, we feel that our combination of voice, piano and melody instrument is particularly effective and has an enriching effect on the listening experience of the art songs presented here. The contrasting registers of soprano and cello complement both the music and the substance of the text from different angles, the timbre of the cello being ideal for the hues and shades of these songs as its solo role augments these delicate arrangements. The work 'Auf dem Strom' by Franz Schubert - also on this CD - is one of the best-known original compositions of this genre.

Credo - Georg Frideric Handel
Anna Korondi, Zvi Emanuel-Marial
Hänssler Classic HC22071
Release: 2 February 2024
Credo - a profession of faith, belief, confidence and trust in a time that is challenging for all of us. Faith in the power of music, in art and in the ability to rise up and persevere. These duet recordings were created with these thoughts in mind, making their way through Handel's opera and oratorio duets, right up to the final creative phase of his life.

In Relations - Giacomo Meyerbeer, Carl Loewe, Felix Mendelssohn, Robert Schumann, Emilie Mayer, Frances Allitsen
Eva Zalenga, Doriana Tchakarova
Hänssler Classic HC22050
Release: 2 February 2024
It is only natural that the spirit of the Romantic era should embrace, envelop and encircle the male and female composers and lyricists on this album in their depiction of wistful longing - the omnipresent theme of the era. But this is not the only point of reference behind this concept. The deeper one delves into the life stories and works of these artists, the more complex and far-reaching the network of associations proves to be. 'In Relations' is an invitation to plunge into the associative field of nineteenth century words and music, and it shows that the connections between the two arts and their male and female practitioners were more extensive than one might imagine.

Bruckner 2 (Version 1877)
Philharmonie Festiva / Gerd Schaller
Profil PH23085
Release: 2 February 2024
'In its second version of 1877, the Second is very compact; it is well balanced, and you can easily appreciate the large-scale arcs of tension and empathise with them. At the same time the huge contrasts are thrilling. It contains wonderful melodies. The Adagio is almost like a description of a wonderful landscape, by which I mean an inner and an external landscape. This is not programme music, but this movement in particular does exude a great sense of intimacy, closeness to nature and humanity - indeed, it radiates such an overwhelming sense of love that one simply cannot tear oneself away from it. The Scherzo on the other hand is at times coarse and abrasive. The Finale comes across as a whirling dance. So, in a nut-shell, it is a mystery to me why this symphony is not played more often. It is a masterpiece!' - Gerd Schaller

The Art of Transformation - C P E Bach, Haydn, Mozart
Elizaveta Miller
Quartz QTZ2153
Release: 2 February 2024
Music of the classical and pre-classical periods is the language of ideas and gestures. Musical gesture becomes intelligible by recurrence and recognition. Turning an idea on one's tongue, trying it out in slightly different wording, with a new intonation and in a changed voice creates the musical discourse - the story told, or the argument held. This is the definition of variation, and variation lies at the heart of musical expression. The sonata form is sometimes considered nowadays as the greatest achievement of musical thought of that period, but composers of the eighteenth century were happy to turn to more humble forms. Of these, Variations and Fantasias are probably those with the most distinguished histories. In Variations, an idea is confined to the simplest frame of a musical period, unable to break its own formal boundaries, but free to mutate in all possible ways inside them; in the Fantasia, a musical thought is born, develops and flourishes with no seeming restraint, but for the free will of the composer to structure this flow, and yet, they have in common this constant tension between the urge to repeat an idea and the necessity of altering, transforming it. This hidden conflict feeds creativity and the imagination: it generates, ultimately, the classical style.

Nocturne - Hahn, Fauré, Loher, De Falla, Schumann, Tchaikovsky, Saint-Saens, Villa-Lobos
Aurélie Noll, María Cristina Kiehr, Yolena Orea-Sánchez, Marina Wiedmer, Yi-Fang Huang, Olivier Carillier
Solo Musica SM427
Release: 2 February 2024
This CD recording is the result of a succession of different moments of musical happiness and the encounter between the solo harpist of the Basel Symphony Orchestra Aurélie Noll, and two exceptional musicians. María Cristina Kiehr (soprano) and Yolena Orea-Sánchez (violonchello) have put their talent and artistic sensitivity at the service of this wonderful repertoire. The special sound of the harp creates a kind of new relief here and lends this unusual album its special charm. The program includes works by Reynaldo Hahn, Tchaikovsky, Manuel de Falla and Gabriel Fauré. One highlight is certainly the new composition for soprano, cello and harp by Swiss composer Silvan Loher, whose delicate and impressionistic musical style fits wonderfully into this project. Soprano María Cristina Kiehr, born in Tandil, Argentina, is a specialist in 'early music'. The South American cellist Yolena Orea-Sánchez is a permanent member of the Basel Symphony Orchestra, as is the harpist Noll. She can be heard regularly at numerous European music festivals with the Trio Anthilia (violin, cello and piano), which she co-founded.

Sonic Alchemy - Pēteris Vasks, Arvo Pärt, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
YuEun Kim, Mina Gajić, Colemant Itzkoff
Sono Luminus DSL-92261
Release: 2 February 2024
How do we even measure time? It is sometimes said that time is as old as humankind, but of course it isn't. It's just something we created out of a need for... what exactly? Earliest known evidence suggests we were measuring time already five thousand years ago. That way we could create predictability, for example concerning planting and harvesting. From there on we could more easily schedule and organize, which then helped us building a more sustainable life. When we had found a mutual understanding of what we would call time then other systems could be developed, kind of like a third- party software. Music notation works as a fine example. Today our life is synchronized 'to the beat.' Not only is every single footstep kept track of by our telephones or every breath by our smart wrist watches - even our thoughts are as good as monitored as we scroll casually through advertisements on social media. Without us even realizing, the idea of time and synchronicity is apparently encrypted so deep in our consciousness that the thought of viewing the world without it is beyond our comprehension. That doesn't change the fact that time as we understand it has not always been the same. Our ideas on time have changed throughout the centuries and will most probably continue to do so. The works on Sonic Alchemy are of composers who offer a new perspective on how we can perceive time, each in their own way. - Páll Ragnar Pálsson

Eðvarð Egilsson, Páll Ragnar Pálsson
Sono Luminus SLE-70032
Release: 2 February 2024
What happens when a soundtrack is taken from a film and given a life on its own? When two Icelandic composers Páll Ragnar Pálsson and Eðvarð Egilsson finished scoring Quake, a psychological family drama, they were not ready to stop just there. What followed was a voyage of musical discoveries as they allowed for new ideas to enter the creative space. Just as a plant spread itself over the whole garden, cues from the movie scenes become independent, mature songs. The soundscape dwells on the border of acoustic and electronic and drifts from song-based to textural, from atmospheric to cinematic with lustrous cello in the foreground.

Works for solo organ and for organ and instrument - Noferini, D'Aurizio, Pressato, Becheri, Padova, Venturi, Scannavini
Andrea Toschi, Luca Paccagnella, Marco Tampieri, Daniele Ruggieri, Coro Accademia Musica Nova, Edoardo Gioachin
Tactus TC940004
Release: 2 February 2024
Organist Andrea Toschi is the common denominator of this collection of contemporary pieces for solo organ or for organ and instrument (trumpet, flute and cello alternate in duo with the organ). Composers in this CD include Sergio D'Aurizio, and Giordano Noferini, who was director of the Conservatorio of Bologna: they represent the musicians who were born in the first half of the twentieth century and were firmly connected to the late-nineteenth century tradition, which they reassessed paying attention to the harmonic aspect. The cd proceeds with Pressato and Becheri: Toschi presents several pieces in which Gregorian chant, the counterpoint devices, the relationship with the trumpet, the relationship between diatonicism and chromaticism are distinctive features that need to be carefully emphasised and smoothly blended: this is precisely what Toschi does in his interpretation. The most recent composers are Giacone, Scannavini, Padova, and Venturi: in their music we can perceive an opening to stylistic influences other than the traditional ones: for instance African music in Giacone's melodies, Scannavini's use of perceptive deceit, the modern techniques adopted by Padova, and Venturi's use of complexity as an element of composition.

Ex Tempore: Music for consort of dulcians from Renaissance to Contemporary
The Italian Consort, Andrea Inghisciano
Tactus TC500008
Release: 2 February 2024
The singular record production 'Ex tempore' is proposed to us by the instrumental ensemble 'The Italian Consort', with the collaboration of Andrea Inghisciano, an exceptional guest and international star of the Renaissance cornetto. The ancestral sounds of the consort of dulciane, accompanied by the lute of Gian Giacomo Pinardi and the organ of Cinzia Guarino, guide us to listen to a repertoire of both early music - represented by composers of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries - and contemporary, thanks to the compositional contribution of Marco Betta and Giovanni Sollima. The particular timbres of the ancient instruments are the expressive key to intricate labyrinths of contrapuntal alchemies, intense relationships with sacred or poetic texts and implied invitations to dance, in a continuous search for imitation of the human voice that in the Renaissance was considered as the absolute reference for any musical instrument.

Ave Maria: First Vespers of the Solemnity of Our Lady of Buckfast
The Choir of Buckfast Abbey, David Davies, Matthew Searles, Philip Arkwright
Ad Fontes AF003
Release: 2 February 2024
The Choir of Buckfast Abbey presents music for the First Vespers of Our Lady of Buckfast, the Abbey's patronal feast on 24 May. The Gregorian chant of the Monastic Rite is interspersed with glorious polyphonic works by Felice Anerio, William Byrd and Francisco Guerrero, culminating in the splendid Magnificat Octavi toni by Tomás Luis de Victoria. A thrilling new arrangement of the traditional devotional hymn Hail, Queen of heaven is the climax of this joyous service. Full use of the tonal capability of the Abbey's Ruffatti organ is made throughout, with a number of liturgical improvisations.

A Celtic Legacy: The Music of the O'Donnell Brothers for Wind Band
The Band of the Royal Air Force College, Piers Morrell, Richard Murray, Chris l'Anson
Release: 2 February 2024
Wonderful Irish themed music for wind band/military band written by three hugely talented brothers who were directors of top military bands in England, in the Army, the Royal Marines and the RAF. Much of this music is unknown, has been unjustly forgotten and indeed has not been played for almost a century. Many of the works on this recording were way ahead of their time. We also have some music arranged for the legendary BBC Wireless Military Band, which broadcast weekly between 1927 and 1943 and featured many of London's finest orchestral musicians It was conducted by Bertram Walton O'Donnell and then by his brother Percy.

French Touch - Berlioz, Debussy, Connesson, Boulry, Kosma
Samek Music CC0081
Release: 2 February 2024
Winner of the competition 'Prix de la Fondation Horlait Dapsens', you'll hear the clarinet in all its versatility by Clarnival in their second album - French Touch, 'La crème de la crème' of French repertoire for clarinet quartet. General de Gaulle famously described Belgium as ''a country' invented by the English to annoy the French'. As a group of Belgians revisiting some of France's cherished musical pieces, Clarnival offers the crème de la crème of French cultural landscape, with their own unique touch. While savouring music by Berlioz and Debussy, Clarnival also positions themselves in the avant garde of the clarinet quartet repertoire. Quartets by Aulio, Boutry and Connesson will give a welcome and delicious piquant to this inspirational programme. Clarnival proposes a journey from gypsy jazz with Kosma through tango thanks to Escaich. Taking a detour with the traditional folk music of Occitania with Brotto-Lopez, to Brittany with Mathey adding a twist, an older patrimonial song, Rossignolet du Bois, with the participation of Camille Bauer, their very own femme fatale. To enjoy French Touch, take a comfortable seat in a chaise longue, with a crème brûlée, café au lait or a cognac and laissez-faire Clarnival carry you away with our musical joie de vivre.

A Cocktail of Happiness: The Music of Fred Hartley
Royal Air Force Salon Orchestra, Henry Eastburn-Pentreath
Release: 2 February 2024
A delightful collection of light music masterpieces by the celebrated composer, conductor and pianist Fred Hartley, performed by the Royal Air Force Salon Orchestra: three violins, viola, cello, double-bass and piano. Music from the 20s, 30s, 40s and 50s in exquisitely stylistic performances by this superb group.

Yasmin Rowe, piano - J S Bach, Prokofiev, Robert Schumann, Granados
Willowhayne Records WHR091
Release: 2 February 2024
Following her highly praised debut album, Yasmin Rowe returns to Willowhayne Records for an engaging and delightful programme, in which she returned to Holy Trinity Church, Hereford for this recording. Now resident in Melbourne, Australia, Yasmin has gained critical acclaim as a soloist, collaborator and recording artist in Europe, Asia and Australia. As well as her concert hall recitals, she has given many free-to-air concerts As well as her concert hall recitals, she gives many live-to-air performances, appearing as a frequent guest on Melbourne-based 3MBS Radio since 2019.

Daniel Rieppel, piano - Mozart, Copland, Schumann
Willowhayne Records WHR085
Release: 2 February 2024
Daniel Rieppel, a native of Minnesota of Austro-Hungarian descent, performs Mozart's Fantasy and Sonata in C minor, the Piano Variations of Aaron Copland and Symphonic Etudes by Robert Schumann. He performs widely in North and South America and Europe (most recently in Iceland) and has been Professor of Music at Southwest Minnesota State University for over 25 years. He has international recognition for his research into Schubert's incomplete sonatas, finishing several that will be the subject of his next recording.

Bomba Pop
Amsterdam Klezmer Band
Vetnasj Records
Release: 2 February 2024
New album Bomba Pop, dedicated to the late co-founder and accordionist Theo van Tol, will be released via Vetnasj Records, the band's own label. In late 2022, Bomba Pop, a collection of pieces written by various band members, was recorded in collaboration with DJ, pianist and producer Dunkelbunt, the pseudonym of Viennese Ulf Lindemann. Dunkelbunt is an old acquaintance of the band, having already worked with them during the Balkan Beats craze of the early '00s on remixes of tracks such as Naie Chuppe and Chassid in Amsterdam. The goal: an exciting, exuberant mix of traditional Klezmer, oriental melodies and modern pop music influences, combined with the distinctive popping energy that AKB has been known for for over two and a half decades.

Posted 25 January 2024 by Keith Bramich



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