News from around the world

New Releases for July 2024 and Later

Browse a selection of new recordings


Here is our list of future releases, based on emails received between 24 June and 14 May 2024, 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. Unfortunately we haven't been able to include any albums with a release date earlier than 1 July 2024.

Unless otherwise specified, each item is a single CD.

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


11 OCTOBER 2024

Fauré and Chopin: Le Nocturne
Tamayo Ikeda (France/Japan), piano
Ulysses Arts UA240020
Release: 11 October 2024
Tamayo Ikeda, originally from Japan and resident in Paris, releases her latest solo piano album, Le Nocturne, with music by Chopin and Fauré. This is her second release with Ulysses Arts, following her Schubert album of 2022. She writes: 'The recording is a game of mirrors between the night of Gabriel Fauré and that of Frédéric Chopin. After reading the novel titled The Nocturne by French philosopher Vladimir Jankelevitch, I was profoundly amazed.  His book inspired me to associate these two composers.  Written clandestinely during the dark period of World War II, this book has the rare ability to express precisely what I feel, but in words. Jankelevitch compares Chopin's Nocturnes which accompany us through the deep pain experienced in the solitude of the night to those of Fauré, which evoke dark nights but with the promise of a "golden sun".  They offer hope, transforming those same nights into a promise of light.'



Paul Henley: Music for String Quartet: Quartets Nos 1 and 2; Elegy; Piangendo - first recordings
The Jarualda String Quartet
Ulysses Arts UA240080
Release: 20 September 2024



Brief Encounters
Peter Mallinson, viola; Lynn Arnold, piano; Shirley Turner, violin
Meridian Records CDE 84677/8-2 (2 CDs)
Release: 10 September 2024
This new album explores pieces of music which, in different ways, confront or embody a notion of brevity, in their form, their theme, or their composer's musical destiny.  The long and rewarding journey to create the album has brought Peter and Lynn many 'splendid moments' of discovery: 'the charm or eloquence of musical miniatures; the poignancy of works created during a life cut short; the mysterious impact of utterances quite uncharacteristic of a composer's customary voice; the immediate appeal of pieces whose popularity was as intense as it was short-lived.' The double album includes a rich variety of lesser-known gems, mostly from the twentieth century, many by British composers. Some are original works for viola and piano, others are transcriptions and arrangements, aiming to bring to a wider audience composers or compositions long overlooked, or now forgotten. There are several world premiere recordings. Most of the works are short pieces with a single focus. What links them is a distinctive freshness and immediacy for the listener.



Max Richter: In A Landscape
Decca Records
Release: 6 September 2024
'For me, the music on the record is about connecting or reconciling polarities. Meanwhile the tracks themselves are, as ever, my attempts to figure out how to make sense of our lives in the here and now of our daily life as I experience it.' - Max Richter

Chansons musicales, Paris, 1533
Nancy Hadden, flute; Zephyrus Flutes; Heringman, lute
CRD Records CRD3548
Release: 6 September 2024
First recordings of the surviving music for transverse flute consort. These were originally published in two unique collections by the Parisian music publisher Pierre Attaingnant in April 1533 and are here reconstructed in a selection to give a sweep of songs inspired by poetry covering universal themes of love, hope, regret, the seasons and more.


30 AUGUST 2024

Marin Marais: Tombeau pour Monsieur de Sainte Colombe
La Rêveuse
Harmonia Mundi HMM905356
Release: 30 August 2024
In this new album, Florence Bolton and Benjamin Perrot revisit the composer who gave their ensemble its delightful name, 'La Rêveuse'. Drawing on his heritage (Sainte-Colombe), his friendships (Robert de Visée) and his own visionary genius, Marin Marais blazed new trails for his instrument in his second book of viol pieces (1701). Alongside the customary dances and sets of variations, he invented the character pieces that were to become so popular in the eighteenth century.

Antonín Kraft - Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach: Cello Concertos
Jean-Guihen Queyras, cello Gioffredo Cappa (1696); Ensemble Resonanz / Riccardo Minasi
Harmonia Mundi HMM902392
Release: 30 August 2024
Moving from the style galant to the Age of Revolutions, this album is an invitation to discover half a century of the cello concerto's history. A few years after their first volume devoted to CPE Bach, Jean-Guihen Queyras, Riccardo Minasi and Ensemble Resonanz pay tribute to the sensitivity of the cello and honour the virtuosity of the unjustly overlooked Antonín Kraft.


23 AUGUST 2024

Philip Glass: Complete Piano Etudes
Máire Carroll, piano
Delphian  DCD34330 (double album)
Release: 23 August 2024
Music for solo piano played a peripheral role during the first three decades of Philip Glass' composing career, but from the 1990s onward he was increasingly in demand for solo performances of his own music. Keen both to provide himself with new repertoire and to develop his technical skills as a pianist, he set to work on Book 1 of what would eventually become a set of twenty etudes whose virtuosic surfaces conceal some of the composer's most intensely personal music. Drawing on the form's historical past while also breaking away from it in inventive ways, these pieces have in recent years taken on a life beyond Glass's own performances; indeed, Book 2 increasingly pushes at the limits of pianistic technique, in a challenge that has appealed to a new generation of committed virtuosos. Máire Carroll has met the challenge head on, performing the entire set of etudes live from memory and now taking it into the recording studio in interpretations at once personal and faithful to the composer's tempi and dynamic markings.

Eastern Reflections: Bartók, Lutosławski, Weinberg, Ligeti
Jonathan Leibovitz, clarinet; Joseph Havlat, piano; Charlotte Saluste-Bridoux, violin
Delphian DCD34319
Release: 23 August 2024
The middle of the twentieth century was a period of tremendous conflict and upheaval throughout the world. Composers responded sometimes directly, sometimes more obliquely to the horrors of fascism, war and state-controlled communism - sometimes with intense seriousness, sometimes with unexpected levity and beauty. In putting together his programme for this eighth in the series of Delphian's recordingsreleased in collaboration with YCAT (the Young Classical Artists Trust), Jonathan Leibovitz has brought together works by Eastern European and Soviet composers that draw on the folk-music heritage of their native lands while also bearing witness to powerful currents of history. Leibovitz's charm and compelling artistry in this, his debut recording, are matched by the contributions of pianist Joseph Havlat and, in two pieces, violinist Charlotte Saluste-Bridoux.

Rebecca Dale: Night Seasons
Steven Isserlis, Guy Johnston, Tenebrae / Nigel Short, Philharmonia
Signum Classics SIGCD866
Release: 23 August 2024 (physical CD release date)
Night Seasons explores the ability to hope in times of adversity. Composed by Rebecca Dale when her father was terminally ill during the pandemic, the album reaches for the wonder in the world around us through an arresting soundworld incorporating orchestra, choir and cello. Rebecca Dale is one of the UK's most exciting young composers. Commonly composing for large orchestral-choral forces, she has spent years honing her creative voice and writing for some of the most distinguished British orchestras.

Gabriel Fauré: Nocturnes & Barcarolles
Aline Piboule, piano
Harmonia Mundi HMM902510
Release: 23 August 2024
The nocturnes and barcarolles are key works in Fauré's output for solo piano that reflect his stylistic evolution. From his early efforts, still close to Chopin and Schumann, to the final pieces with their heady yet elusive harmonies, Aline Piboule invites us to rediscover a whole world of sound on a sublime Gaveau instrument of 1929.

Franz Schubert: Die schöne Müllerin
Julian Prégardien, tenor; Kristian Bezuidenhout, fortepiano
Harmonia Mundi HMM902739
Release: 23 August 2024
This first release in an exclusive recital collaboration with harmonia mundi presents Julian Prégardien's reading of a cycle that explores quintessentially Schubertian themes: nature, love, solitude, death. Taking full advantage of the unique timbres of a Graf-style fortepiano, the young German tenor and Kristian Bezuidenhout create an expressive palette of exceptional variety, full of striking contrasts.


16 AUGUST 2024

Clara Schumann and Edvard Grieg Piano Concertos
Alexandra Dariescu, Philharmonia / Tianyi Lu
Signum Classics SIGCD799
Release: 16 August 2024
This album programmes Clara Schumann's piano concerto alongside Grieg's, which share the tonality of A minor. The release celebrates the innovative composing style of the teenage Schumann alongside Grieg's masterpiece. Alexandra Dariescu is a celebrated Romanian pianist who consistently achieves gender equality in her concerto programming. She has appeared internationally with the world's most renowned orchestras and this year presents the inaugural Alexandra Dariescu Award for an outstanding performance of a work by a female composer at the Leeds International Piano Competition.


15 AUGUST 2024

Cello - A Journey Through Silence to Sound
Kate Kennedy
Head of Zeus/Apollo 9781803287034 (book - hardback/eBook)
Release: 15 August 2024
A group biography of four cellists who suffered various forms of persecution, injury and misfortune, interwoven with the author's personal story and relationship with the instrument. A cello has no language, yet it possesses a vocabulary wide enough to tell, bear witness, and make connections across time and continents. It can communicate in ways that we can only dream of when limited by words. Cello is a group biography that weaves together four narratives of cellists who suffered various forms of persecution, injury, and misfortune. The stories are those of the forgotten Jewish cellist, Pal Hermann, who is likely to have been murdered by the Nazis in Lithuania during the Holocaust; Lise Cristiani, another forgotten performer, who is considered to be the first female professional soloist and who embarked on an epic concert tour of Siberia in the 1850s taking her Stradivarius cello that can be seen to this day in a museum in Cremona in northern Italy; Anita Lasker-Wallfisch, who played in the orchestra at Auschwitz and survived spells in both that camp and in Bergen-Belsen; and Amadeo Baldovino of the Trieste piano trio, whose 'Mara' Stradivarius was lost in a shipwreck in the River Plate between Buenos Aires and Uruguay but later recovered from the water and repaired. Interwoven with their remarkable and often moving stories are a series of interludes that offer a foil to the group biographies. These examine the themes explored in the narratives from different perspectives, drawing together essay-like musings, historical research, personal experience, and the author's many interviews and encounters with contemporary cellists.


9 AUGUST 2024

Isata Kanneh-Mason, piano; London Mozart Players / Jonathan Bloxham
Decca Classics
Release: 9 August 2024
Music from both Mendelssohn siblings: the glittering Piano Concerto No 1 by Felix and the long-lost 'Easter Sonata' by his exceptionally talented but overlooked elder sister Fanny, as well as transcriptions by other composers of some of Mendelssohn's most famous music. 'I am fascinated by Fanny Mendelssohn', says Kanneh-Mason. 'She lived in such a confined way, yet her music has so much fire and so much passion.' That confinement was part and parcel of life for women in the nineteenth century: Fanny was prevented by her father from pursuing a career as a concert pianist or composer due to her gender. Rather than adhere to his strict instructions that music should be merely an 'ornament' for his daughter, Fanny composed in private, writing nearly five hundred works. Many of these are still being discovered today, with several - such as the 'Easter' Sonata, written when Fanny was only twenty-two - a piece lost for 150 years, originally assumed to have been created by Felix and performed under his name for decades. Isata recently featured in the critically acclaimed film The Other Mendelssohn, produced by the composer's great great great granddaughter Sheila Hayman, which explores the life of Fanny Mendelssohn, later Fanny Hensel, and reveals the fascinating story behind 'Easter Sonata'. This new album features a brand new recording of the new urtext edition of this work. In programming the sonata alongside better-known music by Felix, Isata hopes to bring long-deserved recognition to Fanny's achievements.

Karl Jenkins: Stravaganza
Royal Philharmonic Orchestra / Karl Jenkins
Decca Classics
Release: 9 August 2024
Fresh off his sell out eightieth birthday concert tour, Karl Jenkins announces his latest album Stravaganza, featuring first recordings of new works and a new arrangement of Palladio, one of Jenkins' best known works. (This work will also be performed at the BBC Proms in London on 12 August 2024.) 'It is bigger, more dramatic and exciting and with a lot more color than before with different instruments swapping phrases like a musical "Q & A".' - Karl Jenkins


2 AUGUST 2024

George Lloyd: The Piano Works Solo & Duo
Anthony Goldstone and Caroline Clemmow, piano duo; Kathryn Stott, piano; Martin Roscoe, piano
Lyrita SRCD 2423
Release: 2 August 2024
'I just write what I have to write.' The artistic credo of George Lloyd conveys the directness and emotional honesty of his music. He wrote in a traditional idiom enriched by a close study of selected models, Verdi and Berlioz chief among them. His music is distinctive and written with integrity. There is a remarkable consistency to his output, most of which was created spontaneously and without the incentive of a commission. He was fortunate enough to discover his individual and versatile musical voice at an early age. The deceptively artless quality of his scores stems from a thorough grounding in composition techniques. As a violinist, Lloyd was drawn to stringed instruments rather than the keyboard. His wife, Nancy had a very different attitude to the piano, however. Having been brought up listening to records of Alfred Cortot, among other great pianists, she had developed a genuine passion for the instrument. She was always urging her husband to write a piano concerto, but it was not until the early 1960s that those years of persuasion paid off and Lloyd wrote Scapegoat, the first of his series of four piano concertos. Now the composer had overcome his previous aversion to the keyboard, as he put it, 'Suddenly, everything I thought of, I thought in terms of the piano'. From this dramatic change of heart emerged several works for solo piano.  © Paul Conway

George Lloyd: The Works For Brass
John Foster Black Dyke Mills Band / David King; Equale Brass Quintet
Lyrita SRCD 2425
Release: 2 August 2024
George Lloyd was familiar with music for brass from an early age. One of his first musical recollections was listening with rapt attention to a Salvation Army Band with his mother in St Ives. As a student, he attended regularly brass band concerts at London's Crystal Palace, where he heard the premiere of John Ireland's, A Downland Suite at the National Band Festival Competition on 1 October 1932. Lloyd played the cornet when serving as a Bandsman in the Royal Marines, giving him invaluable practical experience as an executant within a group of players. His scoring for the brass section in his large-scale works is invariably idiomatic, impressively wrought and indicates a keen understanding of all the instruments' range, character and versatility. Yet, despite all these indications that he was a natural composer of brass band music, he turned to writing music for brass instruments only in the last two decades of his creative life. Though music for brass band was the last major genre Lloyd added to his catalogue of works, his enthusiasm for the medium, once he had embraced it, was unstinting. The wide popularity of his music within the brass band movement was an enduring source of considerable pride and satisfaction for George Lloyd, as he once confessed: 'To realise that the people who are actually doing it, the players themselves ... seem to like it, that is what pleases me the most.'  © Paul Conway

Vivaldi x22
La Serenissima; Adrian Chandler, director, violin
Signum Classics SIGCD908
Release: 2 August 2024
This is the second album in a series - the first instalment of which, Vivaldi x2, was issued in 2018 - combining further double concerti by Vivaldi with works for violin, cello, oboe, recorder and continuo. For thirty years, La Serenissima have brought the music of eighteenth-century Italy to life in their numerous recordings and performances. Led by director and violinist Adrian Chandler, the dynamic ensemble is known particularly for its interpretations of baroque music.

The Kurt Weill Album
Katharine Mehrling, singer; Konzerthausorchester Berlin / Joana Mallwitz
Deutsche Grammophon
Release: 2 August 2024
With her Faustian ability to fathom the meaning behind every note on the page, Joana Mallwitz's desire to establish a meaningful dialogue with her orchestra, and her determination to weave the finest individual performances into a seamless musical whole, she has earned a reputation as a truly exceptional conductor.


1 AUGUST 2024

Boccherini: String Quintets Op 30 & 31 Vol XI
I Virtuosi della Rotonda; Luigi Puxeddu, cello
Brilliant Classics 95203 (3 CDs)
Release: 1 August 2024
The most emblematic work among Boccherini's descriptive music is his quintet with two cellos La musica notturna delle strade di Madrid, which 'depicts' a cross- sec- tion of the night in Madrid, from the sound of the Ave Maria on the city's church bells to the soldiers' patrol announcing the curfew. In the short time-frame of five movements/ episodes, the different souls of the night of Madrid are recalled. This is amplified in his revision of the quintet, extending the final movement through the addition of 11 variations on the theme of the Curfew Patrol. Both versions of the Quintet are presented in this recording, along with the other five that make up Opus 30, designated by Boccherini as an 'opera piccola' due to their two-movement structure. In them Boccherini explores various expressive characters, both within the individual movements and in their juxtaposition, exploiting peculiarities of his art such as the skilful use of modulations and harmonic contrasts, the subtle balancing of melody and texture and the emphasizing of rhythm in the characterization of musical ideas. The second set of quintets with two cellos that Boccherini composed, numbered as Op 31, is designated an 'opera grande', featuring compositions in more than two movements. The play of characters that Boccherini develops through these quintets appears overall to be even more multifaceted and nuanced than in his Quintets Op 30. In these quintets, as in the Musica notturna and indeed other chamber works by Boccherini, the sacred and profane meet in the name of musical pathos, putting to the listener an ethical and existential question, as well as an aesthetical one. It will be up to each of us to find an answer on the basis of our own sensibilities.

Bottesini: Music for Violin, Double-Bass & String Orchestra
Francesco de Angelis violin; Francesco Siragusa, double bass; Nuova Orchestra Ferruccio Busoni / Massimo Belli
Brilliant Classics 96655
Release: 1 August 2024
Giovanni Bottesini is of course familiar to many musicians and music lovers, particularly double bass players, since the composer-performer enjoyed an undisputed position as 'the Paganini of the double bass' throughout the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. This recording is a collection of five important pieces with a virtuosic and concerto-like compositional style, where the violin and double bass often take the lead roles in dense, surprising dialogues. It gives fans of nineteenth-century music an opportunity to experience the technical and creative richness of a composer who was extraordinarily artistically courageous for his time and gives due credit to musicians who for various reasons have historically been undervalued by the prevailing musical hierarchy. Bottesini's creative boldness is evident in the way he dared to put forward the double bass as a virtuosic solo instrument, on a par with its noble cousins, the violin, viola and cello. Many of his pieces feature solo parts that showcase dialogues between the extreme registers of the string instruments, from the 'demonic' violin with its high notes at the limits of perception, to the abyss of the bottom notes of the double bass. No one before Bottesini had discovered the untapped expressive potential of the latter instrument, since it had always been considered essentially a reinforcement for the cello part, one octave down. Instead, he wanted to make the double bass 'soar'. The Andante for strings introduces the double bass as a deep soul often in unison with the orchestral strings. The piece is imbued with an aching intimacy and refined with a rocking, undulating rhythmic motion. His Fantasia on Bellini's 'La Sonnambula' introduces the always cantabile double bass as a voice from the outset, and it is easy to imagine how astounded the audience must have been to hear the melodious sound of this 'back-row' instrument poignantly reimagining Bellini's lyric opera. In the Gran duo concertante for violin, double bass & orchestra Bottesini brings together lyrical sensitivity and expressive power. Here, the violin conveys the greatest possible tensions, frequently leading then giving way to a double bass that performs with cello-like poetry. The String Quintet in F, reimagined as an orchestral piece by Massimo Belli with the backbone of a great symphony immersed in a romantic setting full of energy and drama. The Piccola preghiera (as Bottesini intended) reveals a sensibility quite similar to the Andante that begins this album. The style here is even more sober, with strings layering over each other in an all-encompassing world of sound, rich in harmonic progressions and peaceful resolutions.

Francesco Cilea: Songs & Piano Music
Lenny Lorenzani, soprano; David Boldrini, piano
Brilliant Classics 96734
Release: 1 August 2024
Over the course of a long but ultimately frustrated career as a late-Romantic lyric composer, Francesco Cilea ascribed to one credo above all: 'Be Italian'. In L'Arlesiana and Adriana Lecouvreur, above all, he created masterpieces of the new style of verismo which kept sung drama in Italian at the centre of wider notions of what opera means. Everything he wrote, from large-scale stage works, to chamber pieces to the salon songs and miniatures gathered here, expressed his quintessentially Italian voice and aesthetic philosophy. 'The real instrument of expression of the passions is the divine human voice,' he once remarked, 'with which no instrument can ever compete.' Thus, in complement to his career as an operatic composer, he wrote a small but exquisite collection of songs gathered here by artists with considerable experience in the field of neglected Italian art-song. This collection opens with the charming Romanza which Cilea composed at the age of 17, evidently under the spell of Bellini's Norma. The more complex harmony of 'Bionda larva' from three years later mirrors Cilea's development as a stage composer, about to launch his first opera, Gina. Every sung line here is calculated, as it was in Monteverdi's day, to heighten an appreciation of the text, and the emo- tions underlying it, with a madrigalian illustration which always colours and never obscures the words. There are expressions of heightened erotic passion alongside simple religious devotion - a typically Italian paradox. As interludes, David Boldrini plays four evocative miniatures, functioning essentially as songs without words. He and Lenny Lorenzani have made a previous collection of Cilea's songs, but this new Brilliant Classics album was recorded in 2023 and features a different selection of repertoire.

Wolf-Ferrari: String Trios, Quartets & Quintet
Quartetto Eos; Trio David; Matteo Rocchi, viola
Brilliant Classics 96816 (2 CDs)
Release: 1 August 2024
Wolf-Ferrari was a composer of great artistic merit, Italian by nationality but raised in Germany, unfairly forgotten and deserving of rediscovery. His works meld compositional and spiritual elements with a preference for melodic purity and smooth harmonies, a passion for clear and linear forms inspired by Classical-era Vienna, and a meticulous approach. His aversion to complexity and his love of clarity and simplicity - as far removed from the operatic verismo movement as from the experiments of the avant-garde - meant he was, in a certain sense, an isolated figure, yet he knew that, despite the nostalgia in his writing, he had his own vibrant and original voice. His writing for strings displays expert compositional technique and a thorough technical knowledge of the instruments. The youthful String Trio in B minor and the related String Trio in C minor are edited by Luca Incerti based on the manuscript held at the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek in Munich (Mus ms 21366). The first trio is divided into three movements: Allegro, Larghetto and Scherzo (Allegro vivace). The second trio reuses the opening Allegro (raised to C minor) and Larghetto, adding a different en- ding in two new movements: Scherzo: Allegro mol- to and Adagio molto. The String Trio in A minor (Op 32) is divided into three movements - Allegro moderato, Pastorale (Andante tranquillo) and Allegro - and was written in 1945, during the composer's mature period. The String Quartet in A minor was composed in 1894 and has also been edited by Luca Incerti, based on another manuscript held in Munich (Mus ms 23144-2). It comprises four movements: Allegro moderato, Adagio non troppo, Allegro vivacissimo and Allegro assai. The String Quartet in E minor is likewise split into four movements - Allegro, Andante cantabi- le, Capriccio (Allegro pesante) and Allegro - but its date of composition is unknown. However, by contrast it certainly stems from Wolf-Ferrari's later years, when all the composers unique artistic traits came to the fore. As this quartet makes clear, in the context of the early twentieth-century avant-garde, Wolf-Ferrari provided an alluring return to Classicism, but it was his own personal interpretation of the style, rather than an attempt to restore it. His neoclassicism appears more modern today than it would have done to his contemporaries.

Johannes Albertus & Johannes Fredericus Groneman: Rococo Flute Music
Jed Wentz, traverso; Marion Moonen, traverso; Balázs Máté, cello; Marcelo Bussi, harpsichord
Brilliant Classics 97002
Release: 1 August 2024
Eighteenth-century sonatas by a pair of musical brothers, in stylish historically informed performances from 1994. Very little music by the brothers Groneman is known in modern times beyond the pieces on this album, which have survived simply because of their popularity with flautists of their day. Pleasing both to hear and to play, these sonatas exert an additional fascination today for the insights they give into the taste and technique of the eighteenth-century flautist. Johannes Albertus Groneman (c.1708-1781) and Johannes Fredericus Groneman (1711-1778) were both probably born in Colog- ne, where their father was a military-band musician. Albertus developed his skill as a violinist beyond mere proficiency, and left to ply his trade as a jobbing musician in what is now the Netherlands. Having settled in Leiden around 1731, he wrote virtuosic pieces for violin and flute which proved popular enough to be publis- hed and republished in London and Paris. He performed throughout Holland, and then moved from Leiden to The Hague, where he was awarded a lucrative and coveted position as church organist. This career of steady accomplishment and gathering renown came to a sudden and tragic end in 1756 when he was committed to an asylum, where he lived out his days in penury. Meanwhile Fredericus is a much more shadowy figure to us: the three books of his flute sonatas listed in contemporary publishers' catalogues have disappeared, as have any details of his life and career. Of his gifts as a musician, there can be no doubt, to judge from the sonatas presented here, showing as they do an up-to- date knowledge of the latest musical trends set by masters such as Tartini and Geminiani, and yet display an expressive style entirely their own. Likewise, the two flute duets by Albertus Groneman demonstrate why his music proved to be so popular during his lifetime: they are in turn gracious, surprising, virtuosic and sweetly-singing, and display the full range of the flute's possibilities. Like Telemann's duets of the same period, they are full of fantasy and wit and testify not only to the worthiness of their creator, but also to the taste of the eighteenth century flautist who loved them so well. Originally issued on the Dutch label: NM Classics, this reissue restores a valuable window into the vibrant culture of chamber music in eighteenth-century Holland, performed by specialists in the field.

Conrad Friedrich Hurlebusch: Harpsichord Music (Hamburg, c 1735)
Fernando De Luca, harpsichord
Brilliant Classics 97088 (2 CDs)
Release: 1 August 2024
Suites, fugues, toccatas and variations by a well-travelled contemporary of J S Bach, in a new recording by an Italian harpsichordist with an impressive catalogue of Baroque rarities on Brilliant Classics. The music of Conrad Friedrich Hurlebusch (1691-1765) has featured on a few enterprising collections of Baroque-era rarities, but this is the first-ever album to be entirely dedicated to the art of a composer whose style succes- sfully mirrors his cosmopolitan outlook. Having received initial tuition from both his father Heinrich, another organist/composer, and from a pupil of Buxtehude, Hurlebusch left his birthplace of Braunschweig and embarked on a journey around Europe that, for the first half of his career, took him to Hamburg, Tuscany, Venice, Stockholm and many points in between. On a stay in Leipzig, he met Bach and his sons; C P E mentioned Hurlebusch in dispatches as an excellent keyboard virtuoso. Finally, in 1742, Hurlebusch settled in Amsterdam, as organist of the famous Oude Kerk. On his travels, Hurlebusch had become familiar with diverse Italian styles such as the work of Corelli and Vivaldi, but he also remained open to more recent developments such as the galant style of the 1730s and 1740s. Published in Hamburg in around 1735, the volume of harpsichord music recorded here by Fernando de Luca is an expanded reprint of a collection published two years earlier as the composer's Op 1. It has never been recorded complete, but it discloses a wealth of invention in an outward-looking, extrovert style which must have suited Hurlebusch's gifts as a performer: this is music designed to make an impression. The volume opens with an extensive set of variations on a minuet. There are five suites of dances - allemandes, courantes, sarabandes, minuets and gigues, such as we find in Bach's solo-instrumental suites - and several freestanding fugues and toccatas.

Margola: Chamber Sonatas with Guitar
Ensemble Counterpoint
Brilliant Classics 97148
Release: 1 August 2024
Franco Margola (1908-1992) was an Italian composer who was active throughout the twentieth century. During his lifetime, he dedicated himself to composing pieces for musicians in the academic sector, where he found fertile ground and was widely commissioned for both pedagogical and non-educational purposes. His career included various teaching and leader- ship posts at several Italian conservatoires, not least the Conservatorio di Musica 'Arrigo Boito' in Parma, where he taught composition from 1963 to 1975. Here, thanks to a collaboration with the guitar teacher Renzo Cabassi, he began to compose numerous works for guitar (approximately 250 opus numbers). Margola maintained a close relationship with the historic roots of his art form, and although he experimented with the avant-garde in his youth, he abandoned such tendencies in his more mature compositions. His works are characterised by a 'rhythmic vitality, a 'classical' phrase structure, clear diatonicism, and a frequent use of fourths and fifths that recall the elements of his early compositions.' The aim of this recording is to offer listeners a selection of colourful soundscapes that vary according to the different ensembles. The guitar is the star of this album and takes on new colours in combination with the flute and violin, as well as in guitar duos and trios. Margola's sonatas often provide opening movements that are diatonic and atonal, followed by lyrical cantabile second mo- vements that culminate in sparkling third movements evoking a medieval or baroque feel. The guitar trio configuration features some of the composer's lesser-known works: Sonata (dC 281), the Sonata (dC 228) and Sonata II for three guitars (dC 234). The violin and guitar duo performs the Sonatina (dC 259) and Sonata (dC 754) (first recording). The one-movement Sonata's affinities with the Sonatina indicate that it was probably a preliminary sketch for the latter piece, with which it shares tonalities and several melodic ideas. To the flute and guitar duo are devoted Sonata IV (dC 191) and Sonata II (dC 197). Finally, the last two sonatas on this disc (dC 661 and dC 662) are for guitar duo. The unpublished Sonata (dC 661) was transcribed from an old copy of a manuscript with several parts that were almost illegible, making the tran- scribers' work a musical challenge that involved balancing notational accuracy with interpretive freedom, guided by a profound understanding of the composer's musical language.

Tournemire: L'Orgue Mystique - selection
Tjeerd van der Ploeg, organ
Brilliant Classics 97267 (5 CDs)
Release: 1 August 2024
A substantial survey of a modern landmark in French organ literature, full of colour, mystery and joy. If any organ music anticipates the explosion of lush harmony, unified musico-theological ideas and radical innovation with which Olivier Messiaen renewed the long tradition of French organ music, it is L'orgue mystique by Messiaen's one-time teacher at the Paris Conservatoire, Charles Tournemire. In a Bachian spirit of comprehensiveness, Tournemire wrote fifty-one suites for nearly every Sunday and select feast days of the church year. Gregorian chant permeates Tournemire's music, with motives drawn from the appointed proper chants for the day. On this five CD collection, the Dutch organist presents twenty-three of the suites, in whole or in part, and arranges them according to the church year, with individual discs dedicated to the Sundays around Christmas and Epiphany, Easter, Pentecost and the Assumption. Each suite consists of five movements: a 'Prélude à l'Introït', 'Offertoire', 'Élévation', 'Communion' and 'Pièce terminale'. This final piece is no spec- tacular display piece, as one commentator has written: 'Tournemire seemed to have envisioned a period of meditation for the devout at the conclusion of the Mass rather than the usual noisy and hur- ried movements of the congregation toward the door.' Tournemire had himself been a pupil of Cesar Franck, and wrote, as Franck had done, for the full disposition of Cavaillé-Coll organs which became synonymous worldwide with the musical equivalent of the Gothic revival. Tjeerd van der Ploeg made this recording in 1995 on the Mutin organ of the Eglise Saint-Pierre in Douai, France. This reissue makes an attractive sequel to his extensive four CD collection of Tournemire's organ works outside L'orgue mystique (95983). The technical specifications of the organ is included in the booklet, which also features an essay on Tournemire by van der Ploeg.

Mozart: 'Posthorn' Serenade K 320; Gallimathias Musicum K 32
Czech Chamber Philharmonic Orchestra Pardubice / Vahan Mardirossian
Brilliant Classics 97309
Release: 1 August 2024
A diverse survey of Mozart's 'occasional' music, including his grandest serenade as well as one of his earliest and strangest works, alongside two late and powerful masterpieces. The 'Posthorn' Serenade of Mozart has been recorded on many occasions, but perhaps never with such stimulating and contras- ted couplings as this new recording from the Czech Chamber Philharmonic Orchestra Pardubice under their Armenian music director, Vahan Mardirossian. These forces recently made an attractive album of Mozart's 'Lodron' divertimenti (97307); now they turn to the grandest of the serenades which Mozart composed while still in the service of the Prince Archbishop of Salzburg. The 'Posthorn' Serenade dates from 1779, and the harmony of its grand introduction immediately belongs to the richly ambiva- lent world of mature Mozart. Everything here is calculated to entertain, such as the graceful pairs of minuets, and the extensive 'concertante' movement featuring a cadenza for solo winds, but beyond that there is a uniquely Mozartian pathos which emerges most strongly in the D minor Andantino. Little within Mozart's output could present a stronger contrast than the patchwork of dances and tunes compiled by the ten-year-old composer while convalescing after a serious illness in The Hague. Commissioned for a piece to celebrate the accession of William V as Prince of Orange, he produced this seventeen-movement 'Gallimathias Musicum'. By turn, the album then makes a characteristically Mozartian shift to the grave tread of the Masonic Funeral Music composed in memory of the composer's Masonic brothers in 1785. No less imposing in its way is the Fugue in C minor which Mozart originally wrote for two pianos in December 1783. Rescoring it for strings in June 1788, he added a stern and prefatory Adagio. Known as the Adagio and Fugue K 546, this has been recorded by forces ranging from string quartet to full symphony orchestra; the Czech Chamber Philharmonic Orchestra presents a compelling middle way.

The Charm of the Lyre-Guitar - Doisy, Rougeon-Bauclair, Plouvier, Meissonnier
Domenico Lafasciano, lyre-guitar
Brilliant Classics 97346
Release: 1 August 2024
The lyre-guitar was a fascinating, upmarket instrument that originated in Paris. Its inventor, luthier Pierre-Charles Mareschal, dated its creation to around 1780. It was very popular in the elite salons of Napoleonic era-Europe, between the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century. Its refined, elegant shape recalling the ancient Greek lyre, made it a much-vaunted status symbol among women, who believed it enhanced their grace and beauty. As well as being played by noble women, it was also used by musicians to accompany singers, including the French tenor Joseph Dominique Fabry-Garat and the Austrian baritone Johann Michael Vogl, a close friend of Franz Schubert. The lyre-guitar used on this recording comes from Domenico Lafasciano's private collection. It was built in Paris in 1806 by Henry Lejeune, part of an important dynasty of luthiers dating back to the eighteenth century. Lafasciano's lyre-guitar is an original and very rare instrument: it has only twelve frets, and they are made of gut like on the lute or baroque guitar, making it suitable for playing works from the early nineteenth-century guitar repertoire. It is a brilliant example of the transition between the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, a period when guitarists were still playing instruments with five double or single courses of strings, as well as six-string models. It appears that the lyre-guitar, which had six single strings from the outset, gave a definitive push to the addition of the sixth string to the guitar. This album contains some lovely musical gems written in the early nineteenth century by guitar-playing composers who remain largely unknown today. The first French publications, including the pieces featured on this recording, all contained the words 'pour Lyre ou Guitare' or 'pour Guitare ou Lyre', indicating very clearly that the works could be performed on either a lyre-guitar ('Lyre') or a five- or six-string guitar ('Guitare').

Mahler: Symphony No 2, 'Resurrection'
Maria Orán, soprano; Jard van Nes, contralto; Residentie Orkest The Hague / Hans Vonk
Brilliant Classics 97390
Release: 1 August 2024
A valuable CD reissue for a rare and compelling 1986 account of Mahler's great testament of faith.
A Dutch tradition in Mahler performance extends beyond the boundaries of the Concertgebouw. Orchestras in Rotterdam and The Hague have often performed the songs and symphonies, and been led by directors with a typically Dutch, humanistic sympathy for the complex texture of expressions and idioms in Mahler, his appeal to the great symphonic tradition as well as his liberation from its strictures. Nowhere is that sense of tradition and innovation more finely balanced in his output than in the Second Symphony, which underwent the longest gestation of all his symphonies. The first movement began life as a stand alone tone-poem, portraying a dream-sequence autobiographical rite of death in graphically Lisztian terms. Gradually something much more ambitious took shape, and the dream which the young conductor-composer had experienced, seeing his own death as if from afar, became eventually answered by a triumphant affirmation of faith in creativity, with his setting of the Resurrection-Ode by the poet Klopstock. Hearing this poem at a funeral finally gave Mahler the inspiration he needed to complete the symphony, and it has remained one of his best-loved works ever since, coming to embody within generations of its listeners a force of death and renewal. Yet the autobiographical, five-movement form of the symphony has its obvious precedents in the Pastoral Symphony of Beethoven and the Symphonie fantastique of Berlioz, and a successful performance such as this one underlines those connections. The Amsterdam-born Hans Vonk (1942-2004) served as Chief Conductor of the Residentie Orkest in The Hague between 1980 and 1991. Both the playing and the direction in this performance are imbued with confidence and mutual assurance; the tempi are flowing but not hasty, and Mahler's structure is held together with a compelling force. First issued as a 'private' LP set by the orchestra in 1986, this CD reissue makes a significant contributi- on to the symphony's extensive discography.


26 JULY 2024

Tina Davidson: Barefoot
Jasper String Quartet; Natalie Zhu, piano
New Focus Recordings
Release: 26 July 2024
American composer Tina Davidson creates music that stands out for its emotional depth and lyrical dignity. She has been commissioned and performed by leading ensembles and artists including the National Symphony Orchestra, The Philadelphia Orchestra, American Composers Orchestra, OperaDelaware, VocalEssence, Kronos Quartet, Cassatt Quartet and Hilary Hahn. Barefoot features a selection of her chamber music performed by the Jasper String Quartet (violinists J Freivogel and Karen Kim, violist Andrew Gonzalez, and cellist Rachel Henderson Freivogel) and pianist Natalie Zhu. The new album highlights five of Davidson's chamber music pieces for varying combinations of strings and piano, composed over the past decade, including Tremble (2013) for violin, cello and piano; the title track Barefoot (2011) for violin, cello, viola, and piano; Wēpan (2014) for string quartet and piano; Hush (2017) for violin and piano; and Leap (2021) for violin, cello, viola, and piano.

Brahms: Symphonies
Chamber Orchestra of Europe / Yannick Nézet-Séguin
Deutsche Grammophon
Release: 26 July 2024
A concert in Baden-Baden's Festspielhaus ended to euphoric applause, with no one knowing who was at whose feet: The conductor, the orchestra, the audience, or all together the composer: Brahms? The reason for the enthusiasm was his Second Symphony, 'Lichtentaler', because he had completed it here, in Baden-Baden's Lichtental district. And now, with the Chamber Orchestra of Europe and its conductor Yannick Nézet-Séguin, it was given a performance that was one of the great moments in this house.

Beyond the Years: Unpublished Songs by Florence Price
Karen Slack, soprano; Michelle Cann, piano
Azica Records
Release: 26 July 2024
Features nineteen unpublished songs by Price and sixteen first recordings. With an ever-increasing awareness of the excellence that defined her career, Florence Price is finally receiving the recognition that she deserves. Price won the Wanamaker Prize in 1932, and she was the first Black woman to have a symphony premiered by a major American orchestra. Beyond the Years hones in on Florence Price as the composer of songs. Amongst Price's treasures in the archives at the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, is her well worn copy of Vaccai: Practical Method of Italian Singing, a symbol of her fastidious commitment to writing idiomatically for the voice. Whether it was her love of text setting or her belief that her songs could be more easily shared than her larger scale works, Price worked tirelessly advocating for this repertoire. She regularly corresponded with great singers of her generation including Carol Brice, Camilla Williams, Inez Matthews, and Marian Anderson, frequently sending songs for their consideration and use. As performed by Karen Slack and Michelle Cann, these songs are receiving new life.

By Women - Piano works by Armenian women composers
Şahan Arzruni, piano
AGBU/Positively Armenian
Release: 26 July 2024
Two of the earliest women composers in the world were Armenian: Sahakdukht and Khosrovidukht in the eighth century. Armenian pianist Şahan Arzruni has recorded an album celebrating women composers from the region. The album - almost entirely first recordings - continues Arzruni's exploration of music from his home country, including his 2021 recording of solo piano works by Alan Hovhaness.
From Lucy (Lusine) Hazarabedian - the first Armenian woman to write specifically for the piano - to 2024 Pulitzer Prize finalist Mary Kouyoumdjian, the music on "By Women" spans 150 years. Hazarabedian composed 'The Nightingale of Armenia' when she was sixteen years old, and died tragically young six years later. Kouyoumdjian wrote 'I Haven't the Words' in 2020 during the racial reckoning of George Floyd's murder and subsequent protests. The composer describes the composition as a 'sonic journal entry'. The album includes music by Koharik Gazarossian, a Constantinople-born student of Paul Dukas. Gazarossian lived across from the founder of the Armenian National School of Music, Komitas. After Komitas' exile in the Armenian genocide, Gazarossian copied many of his manuscripts of folk songs and used them as the basis of her own works, including the two preludes on this album. Alicia Terzian's 'Ode to Vahan' was written for Arzruni on a commission by Mr. & Mrs. Vahakn Hovnanian. The work is based on a liturgical chant created by Khosrovidukht in the 8th century, which continues to be sung in the Armenian Church today.


20 JULY 2024

Simple Lines of Enquiry
Who Cares - Jiajia Li, flute; Laura Reid, violin
Bandcamp/self release (digital or cassette)
Release: 20 July 2024
On Simple Lines of Enquiry, Li and Reid, a duo based in Calgary, look upon contemporary Canadian works from the last twenty years with care and imagination, creating new arrangements of music originally written for entirely different instrumentation. Having long since stepped out of the classical music mould and into spaces of experimentation, improvisation and even popular music, they began to search for sources of sonic and creative freedom within composed music. Choosing composers from different generations and backgrounds, the duo carefully reimagined each composers' work, responding to them in entirely new ways. Whether through incorporating improvisation into Ka Nin Chan's 'Fugue', or by using prepared violin and voice in Vivian Fung's 'Kotekan', each piece was reworked and rearranged while still preserving the soul of the original music. By finding their own unique voice within classical music's rigid structures, the duo shows that there are new paths forward in how we think about and listen to previously composed works.  


19 JULY 2024

Weinberg: String Quartets, Vol 4
Arcadia Quartet
Chandos Records CHAN20281
Release: 19 July 2024
The Arcadia Quartet's acclaimed survey of Weinberg's string quartets continues with this fourth volume containing Quartets Nos 6, 13 and 15. The sixth quartet was banned by the Soviet authorities, leading to a break of over a decade before Weinberg returned to the genre.

Liszt: Metamorphosis
Charlotte Hu (formerly Ching-Yun Hu), piano
Pentatone Music
Release: 19 July 2024
On her first album for Pentatone, Charlotte explores Hungarian composer and virtuoso pianist Franz Liszt's chameleonic and evolving approach to composing - the metamorphosis of his music spanning from his early works inspired by Beethoven to the abstract tonality of his later works, as well as his incredible ability to transcribe and transform the music of other composers he admired. Liszt: Metamorphosis includes Liszt's Les jeux d'eau à la Villa d'Este (The Fountains of the Villa d'Este) from 1877; his Lieder Transcriptions of art songs by Schumann and Schubert from 1838 and 1848; Three Concert Études from 1845-49; and Rhapsodie espagnole (Spanish Rhapsody) from 1858. Charlotte Hu will celebrate the release of the album with a performance of the program on July 27, 2024 at the Academy of Vocal Arts in Philadelphia, PA for Opening Night of the PYPA Piano Festival (tickets and information). Described as a 'first-class talent' (Philadelphia Inquirer) possessing a 'superstar quality - musical, energetic, and full of flair' (Jerusalem Post), Taiwanese-American pianist Charlotte Hu has been praised by audiences and critics across the globe for her dazzling virtuosity, captivating musicianship, and magnetic stage presence. As a soloist, she has astounded audiences across the U.S., Europe, and  Asia, performing sold-out concerts at many of the world's most prestigious venues, including Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center, Wigmore Hall, the Concertgebouw, Taipei National Concert Hall, and Osaka's Symphony Hall. She is a frequent guest at music festivals, such as the Aspen Music Festival, Ruhr-Klavier Festival, Oregon Bach Festival. Concerto engagements have included performances with the Philadelphia Orchestra, Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, and Taiwan Philharmonic, among others. At the heart of her success is a story of strength, dedication, and resilience that has powered her dream of becoming a world-class artist. Moving to the United States from Taiwan at age 14 without her parents to begin studies at The Juilliard School was the first of many challenges Charlotte overcame in building her illustrious career - one that has included winning top prizes at the 12th Arthur Rubinstein International Piano Competition and the Concert Artists Guild Competition, performing on classical music's biggest stages, and fostering the next generation of musicians as an advocate for classical music through entrepreneurial and philanthropic initiatives. Today, in addition to her prolific performing career, Charlotte is the founder of two piano festivals across two continents: the Yun-Hsiang International Music Festival in Taipei and the PYPA Piano Festival in Philadelphia. Now in its 12th year, PYPA has become an important fixture in the classical music world, cultivating a deeper appreciation for classical music and serving as a bridge of cultural partnerships between West and East. A tireless advocate for humanity, Charlotte raised $27,000 for youth education charities through a Hope Charity Concert live-streamed on her Facebook page in June 2020. The online concert reached more than 140,000 people across the globe. With this album's release, Charlotte Hu announces a metamorphosis of her own - a new name. She says, 'When I came to America from Taiwan at the age of 14, my Chinese name was translated to Ching-Yun. Though musical sounding, the translation from Chinese did not reflect its origin. I've long felt the need to embrace my evolving identity. To better reflect this new direction, I have chosen Charlotte Hu as my new stage name. Having lived as Ching-Yun in the media for decades and through so many important life milestones, it was not an easy decision. However, with time, experience, and self-realization comes strength to embrace change. Charlotte, with French origins, means freedom. As a Taiwanese-American, Charlotte embodies the core of my personality and lifelong aspiration to have the courage to act, think, and speak without hindrance or restraint.'

Breaking Glass Ceilings: Music by Unruly Women
Rose Wollman, viola; Dror Baitel, piano
SBOV Music
Release: 19 July 2024
A captivating album celebrating the contributions of four remarkable female composers: Florence Price, Libby Larsen, Rebecca Clarke and Amy Beach. Conceived as a celebration of musical innovation and female empowerment, "Breaking Glass Ceilings" marks the inaugural collaboration between Rose Wollman and Dror Baitel. It highlights their shared passion and deep admiration for the pioneering women who shattered conventions and paved the way for future generations. From Price's spiritual melodies to Larsen's interpretation of Jazz and Mambo, each track on "Breaking Glass Ceilings" pays homage to the indomitable spirit of these trailblazing women.

Movements: Schumann, Ravel, Stravinsky
George Li, piano
Warner Classics
Release: 19 July 2024
Movements, the title of American pianist George Li's latest album on Warner Classics, reflects both the structure and dance-like spirit of the works featured on the recording, a programme which Li described as 'intriguing and intoxicating'. The repertoire includes Schumann's Davidsbündlertänze (supplemented by his Arabeske in C major), Ravel's eight Valses nobles et sentimentales, and three movements from Stravinsky's score for the ballet Petrushka.

Mariam Batsashvili, piano
Warner Classics 5419796865 (14 minute EP, digital only)
Release: 19 July 2024
Encores, the latest project from Georgian pianist Mariam Batsashvili, spotlights five of her favourite encore pieces: Chopin's 'Souvenir de Paganini', Rossini's 'Petit Caprice' in the style of Offenbach, Paderewski's 'Menuet célèbre', Liszt's Grandes études de Paganini No 4 and the 'Minuet' from Handel's Keyboard Suite in G minor.

Bruckner Symphony No 7; Mason Bates: Resurrexit
Pittsburgh Symphony / Manfred Honeck
Reference Recordings FR-757SACD (SACD)
Release: 19 July 2024
Anton Bruckner's Symphony No 7, in a new interpretation from conductor Manfred Honeck and the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, is coupled with the first recording of Mason Bates' Resurrexit, which was composed in 2018 on a commission from the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra to celebrate Honeck's sixtieth birthday. This album was recorded live in 2022 in beautiful and historic Heinz Hall, home of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, in superb audiophile sound. Honeck has had a deep connection with Bruckner's works ever since his early days as a member of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra. He honors us again with his peerless music notes, in which he gives us great insight into his musical interpretation of the Seventh Symphony, and a deeply spiritual understanding of Bruckner the man. Now in its 128th season, the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra is credited with a rich history of engaging the world's finest conductors and musicians, and is deeply committed to the Pittsburgh region and citizens. Since 2008, the Orchestra has been led by Manfred Honeck, its internationally renowned Music Director. Past music directors have included many of the greats, including Fritz Reiner, William Steinberg, Andre Previn, Lorin Maazel and Mariss Jansons. The Orchestra has always been at the forefront of championing new works, including recent commissions by Mason Bates, Stacy Garrop, James MacMillan, Wynton Marsalis, Jessie Montgomery and Julia Wolfe. The Orchestra has a long and illustrious history in the areas of recordings and live radio broadcasts dating back to the 1930s. It has toured frequently both domestically and overseas since 1896. It next embarks on a 10­-city tour of Austria and Germany, from August 22 to September 7, 2024. The Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra continues to be critically acclaimed as one of the world's greatest orchestras.

African Pianism, Volume 2
Rebeca Omordia, piano
Somm Recordings  SOMMCD 0688
Release: 19 July 2024
A new instalment in a collection of piano music by African composers. Following suit from her critically acclaimed first African Pianism album, Rebeca Omordia brings us a fascinating programme with no less than 8 First Recordings. Among these is the 4th in a selection of three Studies in African Pianism by Akin Euba, a Nigerian composer who makes a return on this second volume and whose 'African Pianism' style, inspired by the research of Ghanaian composer J.H. Kwabena Nketia (see vol.1), shares its name with this outstanding series as a whole. Ethiopian concert pianist and composer Girma Yifrashewa's Elilta (Cry of Joy) is painted in evocative liner notes by Robert Matthew-Walker as an outward-looking piece of no little technical challenge and described as 'a celebration of happiness' by Swiss musicologist Louis Bernard. The music of Algerian composer Salim Dada attempts to be a means by which a natural message of peace and dialogue may exist between the Arab-Muslim world and European civilisation. His five Miniatures Algériennes fully display the composer's natural command of the modern-day post-Impressionist school. Moroccan composer Nabil Benabdeljalil, like Akin Euba, makes a second appearance in this series with a new set of four pieces including three first recordings. His creative aim is 'to rediscover the poetic essence of musical expression, ignoring 'historical necessities' with implied prohibitions and orientations … free from the constraints of a specific age or era.' Soweto native Mokale Koapeng's Prelude in D flat is infused with African dance elements he grew up listening to and witnessing in various townships and uses the interlocking technique of idiophones. Fellow South African Grant McLachlan contributes his arrangement for solo piano of the anti-apartheid protest song 'Senzeni Na?', which begins 'What have we done? Is our sin that we are black?'. Fela Sowande, a Nigerian composer of the previous century, figures on the programme with hauntingly original 'K'A Mura' from 2 Preludes on Yoruba Sacred Folk Melodies. Also representing the first half of the twentieth century is celebrated African American composer Florence Price in her luxuriantly pianistic Fantasie nègre, based on the spiritual 'Don't Let this Harvest Pass'.

Bruckner from the Archives Vol 3 - Symphonies 3 and 4
NDR Symphony Orchestra/Hans Schmidt-Isserstedt; Munich Philharmonic/Volkmar Andreae
SOMM Recordings ARIADNE 5027-2 (2 CDs)
Release: 19 July 2024
Many of the expertly restored and remastered recordings, like these performances of the Third and Fourth Symphonies, are appearing for the first time in any form. Conceived and designed by SOMM Executive Producer and acclaimed Audio Restoration Engineer Lani Spahr with support from the Bruckner Society of America, Bruckner from the Archives celebrates the 200th anniversary of the composer's birth in 1824 with rare archival recordings of the 11 symphonies and selected other important works. These have been sourced by Lani Spahr 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. This third instalment offers live radio broadcasts of Bruckner's Symphony No.3 by the NDR Symphony Orchestra under Hans Schmidt-Isserstedt (1966) and Symphony No.4 by the Munich Philharmonic under Volkmar Andreae (1958). These never-before-heard interpretations from the Bruckner symphonic canon offer a new perspective on these much-loved works, particularly as they are accompanied by the very latest in scholarship about the works' genesis in the context of Bruckner's life and compositional development, written by Professor Benjamin Korstvedt, President of the Bruckner Society of America and member of the Editorial Board of the New Anton Bruckner Complete Edition.


12 JULY 2024

Eric Coates: Orchestral Works, Vol 4
BBC Philharmonic / John Wilson
Chandos Records CHAN20292
Release: 12 July 2024
John Wilson's survey of the music of Eric Coates continues with this album featuring the orchestral suites Four Centuries and From Meadow to Mayfair, alongside The Three Bears Phantasy. Under the Stars, I Sing to You, Footlights, and Music Everywhere complete the programme.

Beethoven: The Final Sonatas
Melvyn Tan, piano
Signum Classics SIGCD906
Release: 12 July 2024
Beethoven's final piano sonatas have been the subject of fierce attention by pianists and scholars alike for two hundred years. This album brings together sonatas Nos 30, 31 and 32. Noted for his study of historical performance practice, Melvyn Tan is one of the leading British pianists today. For his Signum Classics debut, he brings a fresh perspective on some of Beethoven's most famous music.

Graham Fitkin: Loosening
Sacconi Quartet; Joby Burgess, percussion; Clare Hammond, piano; Simon Haram, saxophone; Ruth Wall, harp
Signum Classics SIGCD792
Release: 12 July 2024
Loosening is a double album of five works by award-winning British composer Graham Fitkin. Each work places the string quartet at its core but includes one soloist - or in one case, two. This creates the space for interaction between the soloist and the group, which is rare for the string quartet format. Four of the works have never been recorded before and the fifth is the world premiere recording of a new arrangement. Founded in 2001 by graduates of the Royal College of Music, the Sacconi Quartet has built a reputation by giving recitals in leading British concert halls and at music festivals across Europe. For this album the quartet collaborates with a variety of distinguished soloists: percussionist Joby Burgess, pianist Clare Hammond, saxophonist Simon Haram and harpist Ruth Wall.

Magnificat 4
The Choir of St John's College, Cambridge / Andrew Nethsingha
Signum Classics SIGCD777
Release: 12 July 2024
This is the last album that director Andrew Nethsingha recorded before he left The Choir of St John's College, Cambridge. It is the latest instalment in the Magnificat series and includes works by Judith Weir, Jonathan Dove, Joanna Forbes L'Estrange and Charles Villiers Stanford. One of the world's most renowned choirs, The Choir of St John's College, Cambridge, is admired for its breadth of repertoire and high recording standards.

New Dances of the League of David
David Kaplan, piano
New Focus Recordings FCR409
Release: 12 July 2024
American pianist David Kaplan will release his debut solo album, New Dances of the League of David, on July 12, 2024 on New Focus Recordings. New Dances of the League of David features fifteen new piano miniatures commissioned by Kaplan between 2013 and 2015 from some of today's leading American composers, interwoven with Robert Schumann's Davidsbündlertanze, Op 6. The commissioned composers are Augusta Read Thomas, Martin Bresnick, Michael Stephen Brown, Marcos Balter, Gabriel Kahane, Timo Andres, Andrew Norman, Han Lash, Michael Gandolfi, Ted Hearne, Samuel Carl Adams, Mark Carlson, Ryan Francis, Caroline Shaw, and Caleb Burhans. Schumann's Davidsbündlertanze is a collection of 18 short works from the 1830s, which the composer described as dances of the 'League of David,' a musical society he created consisting of both real and imagined members - including the fictional characters Florestan and Eusebius, representing the two extremes of his own personality. The collection was dedicated to Robert Schumann's wife, the composer and pianist Clara Wieck Schumann, and a mazurka she composed serves as its point of departure. Kaplan writes in the album's liner notes, 'Literary meanings, multiple personalities, and the border between reality and imagination aside, the Davidsbündlertänze is in purely musical terms a masterwork of startling originality; its genre simply has no precedent. . . The Davidsbündlertänze innovate in the contradiction between their apparent disjointedness and their stealthy, mysterious unity: pieces in different keys, with different affects, characters, tempi, lengths, and forms play on the same essential motives, and coexist with unlikely apposition. In a way, the young Schumann had invented the mixtape.' Each 21st century commissioned composer contributed a work that is their own but remains in dialogue with Schumann. Kaplan requested that they write short pieces meant as interruptions or interludes to the Davidsbündlertänze, with each focusing on a different movement. 'Each of the fifteen contemporary composers' pieces . . . offers a unique statement of style, beauty, and wit; yet they are unified by their engagement with the spirit of Schumann,' Kaplan writes. 'The composers all revel in rapid character shifts, multilayered rhythmic textures, and poignant eloquence.' For David Kaplan, the new album is the culmination of a fascination with Schumann that began while he was still a child - at ten years old, he performed some of Schumann's music for children at the Bard Festival. Since then, he has continued to explore the mercurial composer's work in all its configurations - songs, chamber music, concertos, and solo pieces. He also became fascinated with creating concerts that juxtaposed short movements and pieces of larger works in a 'tasting menu' approach, and became a close collaborator with living composers, counting them as colleagues and friends.

Chopin: Complete Nocturnes
Alberto Nones, piano
Halidon 8030615071050 (digital only)
Release: 12 July 2024
Alberto Nones (born Trento, 1975), a pianist, music historian and philosopher, is professor of music history at the 'G Rossini' Conservatory of Music in Pesaro. In his courses, he strives to show how the History of Music can inform the Performing Arts, adopting a very broad cultural perspective. His research interests include Performance Studies, specifically focusing on piano solo and chamber music repertoire, as well as exploring the connections between music, ethics, and politics. He also delves into biographies of musicians, contextualizing them in their time and relating them to our time. He released the double CD Chopin, Complete Mazurkas in 2016 (Continuo Records, Italy), followed by a second Chopin recording, Complete Fantasies, in 2022 (Convivium Records, UK).

Liam Nassereddine, piano
TRPTK TTK0122 (SACD or download)
Release: 12 July 2024
The debut album by thirteen-year-old Liam Nassereddine includes his favourite collection of piano works by Tchaikovsky, Liszt, Glinka, Rachmaninoff, Chopin, Schubert, Debussy and Say. After winning the Bunschoten Younger Talent Award, Liam expressed his dream of releasing an album. His musical maturity and talent impressed Maya Fridman, a jury member and TRPTK's AR manager, so we immediately started talking about how to make Liam's dream come true by working together with TRPTK.  Liam writes: 'My journey with this album began during a challenging period, but it turned out to be an incredible experience. While I was in the hospital for heart surgery, I started listening to Beethoven's Pathétique Sonata, performed by Barenboim. It lifted my spirits and sparked a thought - wouldn't it be wonderful to spread happiness through music? That's when I began dreaming of becoming a concert pianist. After my recovery, I devoted more time to playing the piano and was accepted into the Young Musician Academy in Tilburg. During the Bunschoten Younger Talent Award ceremony, someone asked about my dreams. I mentioned wanting to release my own album, never expecting it to happen so quickly.'

Thomas Pitfield: String Chamber Music
Divine Art DDX 21137
Release: 12 July 2024
This is a remarkable collection of five compositions for strings by Thomas Pitfield, performed with thoughtful skill by members of the Pleyel Ensemble. This album of Pitfield's string chamber music is accompanied by two further Divine Art releases - The Songs of Thomas Pitfield performed by tenor James Gilchrist and pianist Nathan Williamson and Thomas Pitfield (DDX 21119): His Friends & Contemporaries, including works from a fine collection of composers (DDX 21246) These albums serve to shed light on Thomas Pifield's considerable contribution to British music. Throughout his tenure as a composition teacher, Pitfield played a pivotal role in shaping the careers of notable composers like John McCabe, David Ellis, and John Golland, the latter of whom also shared a close personal friendship with Pitfield. Despite being somewhat overshadowed by the achievements of his contemporaries, Pitfield's legacy lives on through a revival of interest in his music. This album offers a glimpse into Pitfield's artistic vision and craftsmanship. Pitfield's compositions are filled with elegance, lyricism, and emotional depth. His music not only showcases his technical skill but also reflects his genuine love for the art form and his dedication to inspiring future generations of musicians. The Pleyel Ensemble was formed in Manchester in January 2011. They are friends and colleagues who draw on a wealth of experience gained through many years of music-making. Since forming, they have given over 200 concerts, and have an enormous and varied repertoire of chamber music. The Pleyel Ensemble was delighted to be chosen as Making Music Recommended Artists for the 2016/17 and 2019/20 seasons and has appeared at Music Societies and Festivals all over the UK. The ensemble takes its name from the Classical composer Ignaz Pleyel (1757- 1831), a brilliant musician and businessman, who, in addition to writing a large body of accessible chamber music, helped increase the popularity of this wonderful kind of music-making amongst amateurs and professionals as both music publisher and piano manufacturer in the early nineteenth century.

Thomas Pitfield: His Friends & Contemporaries
Divine Art DDX 21246
Release: 12 July 2024
'Thomas Pitfield: His Friends & Contemporaries' pays homage to the multifaceted talent of Thomas Baron Pitfield (1903-1999). Pitfield was not just a composer; he embodied the essence of a Renaissance man, excelling in various fields including teaching, visual arts, poetry, writing, furniture making, and ornithology. Despite hisimmense talents, Pitfield remained modest and unassuming, dedicating himself to nurturing the gifts of his students at the Royal Manchester College of Music, where he taught composition from 1947 onwards. This album sheds light on Pitfield's contributions to the classical music landscape, showcasing his compositions alongside those of his contemporaries including John Joubert, E. J. Moeran, Ernst Hermann Meyer, John McCabe, and many more. While Pitfield's name may not be as widely recognized as some of his peers from the 'Manchester School,' such as Richard Hall, his music exudes charm, wit, and inventiveness that captivate listeners. In an era marked by the emergence of modernist compositions, Pitfield chose to traverse the middle ground, creating music that resonates with its timeless appeal. Throughout his tenure as a composition teacher, Pitfield played a pivotal role in shaping the careers of notable composers like John McCabe, David Ellis, and JohnGolland, the latter of whom also shared a close personal friendship with Pitfield. Despite being somewhat overshadowed by the achievements of his contemporaries, Pitfield's legacy lives on through a revival of interest in his music. The album offers a glimpse into Pitfield's musical world, featuring a selection of chamber and instrumental works that highlight his artistic vision and craftsmanship.Pitfield's compositions are filled with elegance, lyricism, and emotional depth. His music not only showcases his technical skill but also reflects his genuine love for theart form and his dedication to inspiring future generations of musicians. Moreover, the album serves as a tribute to Pitfield's enduring influence on his peers and students. His selfless encouragement and mentorship left an indelible mark on those he taught, fostering a sense of camaraderie among composers and musicians. Pitfield's generosity of spirit and unwavering commitment to excellence resonate throughout the album, underscoring his legacy as both an artist and an educator. This double album celebrates the life and work of a remarkable individual whose contributions to the world of classical music extend far beyond his compositions.Through this album, listeners will rediscover the brilliance of Thomas Baron Pitfield and the rich music woven by his friends and contemporaries.

Diary of the Bee: Chamber Works by Helen Leach
Divine Art DDX 21104
Release: 12 July 2024
Composer Helen Leach, known for her enchanting compositions that evoke rich landscapes and deep emotions, releases her album titled "Diary of the Bee." This new collection features a series of rich, tonally traditional compositions. With all tracks being world premiere recordings, the album showcases Leach's remarkable ability to blend lyrical melodies with profound storytelling. "Diary of the Bee" marks a significant addition to the classical repertoire, offering listeners an absorbing journey through Leach's musical landscapes. Each piece on the album unveils a unique narrative, beautifully performed by leading instrumental soloists alongside the esteemed Victoria String Quartet. Reflecting on the inspiration behind her compositions, Leach shares, "Every piece in this album holds a special place in my heart, drawing from personal experiences and the beauty of nature that surrounds me." Indeed, each composition in "Diary of the Bee" tells a story, from the evocative tribute to Prince Philip in "An Edinburgh Farewell" to the introspective musings captured in "Letters from the Owl House." Among the highlights of the album is "Cup of Kindness," a poignant ode to the universal warmth and blessings symbolised by Robert Burns' iconic line, "we'll tak' a cup o' kindness yet." With its tender melodies and thoughtful arrangements, the piece resonates with a sense of harmony and peace. Another standout track, "Tenera Caritate," showcases Leach's mastery in crafting expressive rhapsodies, as she explores themes of love, hope, and healing through the emotive interplay of clarinet and string quartet. Listeners will also be enchanted by "Where Hope Was Sown," a commissioned piece dedicated to Mr. Oliver Burge, of Marchmont Farms, which beautifully captures the essence of the Lapwing bird and its pastoral habitat through delicate musical motifs. From the haunting melodies of "The Black Rood of Scotland" to the elegant conversations of "A Song Without Words," "Diary of the Bee" offers a tapestry of sound that is instantly appealing. Recorded at the historic Marchmont House in Scotland, where Leach is Composer-in-Residence, "Diary of the Bee" not only captures the essence of Leach's compositions but also the timeless beauty of its surroundings. With its richly layered compositions and superb performances, "Diary of the Bee" stands as a testament to Helen Leach's extraordinary talent and her ability to weave intricate musical narratives.

Kefi: Choral & Chamber Works by Lydia Kakabadse
Divine Art DDX 21129
Release: 12 July 2024
British born composer Lydia Kakabadse enjoys a multi-cultural heritage (Greek/Austrian mother and Georgian/Russian father) which deeply informs her musical output. Her new album, recorded in London, features an even more diverse range of music than her previous albums, incorporating ethnic instruments into Western music. Making much use of the 'alternative string quartet' (violin viola, cello and double bass), the title track Kefi also introduces the Greek Bouzouki and 'Greek oud' or politiko laout. While demonstrating a wide diversity of textures and styles, overall the music is coloured by use of the double harmonic scale. As well as a number of chamber works the highlight of the album is the choral work Thirty Steps commissioned by the Hellenic Institute at Royal Holloway whose choir, widely regarded as among the best mixed-voice choirs in Britain today, perform the work here. The other performers here are all experienced and very well regarded in their own fields. Lydia Kakabadse, celebrated for her diverse music, specialises in choral, chamber, and vocal compositions. Influenced by her multicultural background and upbringing in Greek and Russian Orthodox traditions, she draws inspiration from Orthodox Church music, medieval melodies, and Greek and Middle Eastern dance. Trained in piano and double bass from a young age, she pursued music studies at Royal Holloway, University of London. Her works, including string quartets, choral pieces, and concert requiems, have garnered critical acclaim and have been featured on recordings by labels such as Naxos and Divine Art. Notable commissions include 'I Remember' for Forest Preparatory School and 'Odyssey' for The Hellenic Institute. Her compositions have been performed internationally at festivals and by esteemed ensembles, and her string quartet 'Russian Tableaux' has been broadcast on BBC Radio 3. Currently pursuing a PhD in ethnomusicology, Lydia continues to enrich the musical landscape with her distinctive and vibrant creations.


5 JULY 2024

Rooted - Smetana, Suk, Martin, Coleridge-Taylor
Neave Trio
Chandos Records CHAN20272
Release: 5 July 2024
The Neave Trio's latest album presents a programme of works variously inspired by folk music. Trios by Bedřich Smetana and Josef Suk carry strong Bohemian resonances, Samuel Coleridge-Taylor explores his African heritage, whilst Frank Martin bases his Trio on Irish folk melodies.

Ravel - Le Tombeau de Couperin; Pavane pour une infante défunte; Rapsodie Espagnole; Valses nobles et sentimentales; Une barque sur l'océan
Aarhus Symphony Orchestra / Marc Soustrot
Danacord DACOCD 982
Release: 5 July 2024
Marc Soustrot has broad experience and expertise in the major works of the classical and Romantic repertoire and is particularly beloved by audiences for his interpretations of French orchestral compositions. Marc Soustrot was chief conductor of the Aarhus Symphony Orchestra from 2015 to 2023. From the 2021/22 season he has been appointed as Chief Conductor and Artistic Director of the Real Orquesta Sinfónica de Sevilla. Aarhus Symphony Orchestra was founded in 1935 and resides in the award-winning Symphonic Hall at Musikhuset Aarhus. The orchestra employs 66 full-time musicians and is headed by Malko-winner Dmitry Matvienko as Chief Conductor. Former Chief Conductors include Marc Soustrot.

Harmonies of Devotion - Monteverdi, Legrenzi, Lotti, Steffani, Bernabei, Colonna
Contrapunctus / Owen Rees
Signum Classics SIGCD914
Release: 5 July 2024
This album presents some of the core Italian motet repertoire from the seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries. Among the premiere recordings is Giovanni Legrenzi's six-voice work, Intret in conspecto tuo. Directed by Owen Rees, Contrapunctus is an early music vocal ensemble committed to passionate interpretations informed by historical understanding. The group is noted for its imaginative programming and shedding light on unfamiliar works.

Robert Saxton: Epic of Gilgamesh and Resurrection of the Soldiers - first recordings
English Symphony Orchestra / Kenneth Woods
Nimbus NI 6447
Release: 5 July 2024
Epic of Gilgamesh is the oldest written literary text in Middle Eastern/Western cultural history, predating the Hebrew Bible. The epic relates the story of King Gilgamesh, partly divine, partly human, who may have existed historically circa 2800 BC. From immature youth and a belief in his immortality, he eventually comes to accept the power and reality of Death. There are five movements/scenes including the Prologue, where the gods try to restore a sense of balance, the journey to the Forest of Cedar in search of glory, and Apotheosis, where Gilgamesh visits Ut Napishti (precursor of Noah in Genesis) who survived the Flood and had been granted immortality by the gods. Gilgamesh fails the final task set by Ut-Napishti to test his suitability for eternal life, returning to Uruk to build his lasting monument, the city walls. The Resurrection of the Soldiers for string orchestra was commissioned by George Vass, to whom it is dedicated, and the English Symphony Orchestra, for the 2016 Presteigne Festival, with funds generously donated by the John S. Cohen Foundation and the Arts Council of England. The title derives from the final panel of Stanley Spencer's Sandham Chapel visionary series of paintings which were the result of Spencer's experiences in the British Army in World War One and depicts soldiers emerging from their graves on the last day. The piece is in three continuous parts: a slow, sustained introduction which is, in essence, a descent from the note E by means of a prolation canon, but which ascends to a rather intense climactic point before falling and giving way to a very active fugue which, after arriving at an anguished, sustained climax, is succeeded by a closing slow movement consisting of arising melodic line which permeates the entire texture heterophonically, leading to the closing E major triad. The work thus traces a cyclical path as it progresses towards a sense of resurrection, re-birth and hope. © Robert Saxton

Stanford: Te Deum and Elegiac Ode
Rhian Lois, soprano; Samantha Price, soprano; Alessandro Fisher, tenor; Morgan Pearse, baritone; BBC National Orchestra and Chorus of Wales / Adrian Partington
Lyrita SRCD 435
Release: 5 July 2024
By the time Stanford had received a commission from the Norfolk and Norwich Festival to write a choral work for them in 1884, he had, aged thirty-two, already begun to assert himself as one of Britain's leading composers. The Elegiac Ode was, however, his first mature foray into the world of major British choral festivals. Some of the Elegiac Ode had been sketched three years earlier in 1881, but after the Norwich commission, Stanford grasped the opportunity to complete it in July 1884. The words were taken from the last part of Walt Whitman's elegy, 'When lilacs in the door yard bloom'd', written after President Lincoln's assassination in 1865. (Stanford's pupil, Gustav Holst, would use the same text for his Ode to Death after the First World War in 1919.) Taking the seven verses of the burial hymn, Stanford divided his chosen text into four parts, creating a four-movement musical structure more akin to a choral symphony with its substantial and thematically related choral outer movements flanking two shorter inner essays. Stanford's large-scale setting of the Te Deum Op 66 was first sung at the Leeds Festival on 6 October 1898: its ambitious, opulent dimensions were a fitting commemoration of the  accession to the throne by Queen Victoria (its dedicatee) sixty years earlier, as well as a tribute to the full-bodied, well-trained Leeds chorus of 350 singers. A particular feature of the Te Deum is the grandeur of much of its choral writing. Though also dramatic, a dominating feature of the Te Deum is its prominent use of the chorus, and the many fulsome sonorities Stanford was able to draw from the magnificent 'instrument' of the Leeds voices. © Jeremy Dibble

George Lloyd: The Violin and Cello Concertos
Cristina Angeleschu, violin; Philharmonia Orchestra / David Parry; Anthony Ross, cello; Albany Symphony Orchestra / David Alan Miller
Lyrita SRCD 2422
Release: 5 July 2024
George Lloyd started to learn the violin at the age of five and he was a pupil of the violinist Albert Sammons for six years. Despite his facility in playing the violin and the importance he attached to his lessons with Sammons, Lloyd was slow to compose works for his own instrument. It was not until 1970 that Lloyd wrote Violin Concerto No 1, his first piece with a leading role for his own instrument, but this achievement seemed to stir his enthusiasm and during the next seven years he completed a number of short pieces for violin and piano, a fully-fledged sonata and a second concerto. Violin Concerto No. 1 was written in 1970 and remained unperformed until the recording featured on this release took place in the summer of 1998. Seven years elapsed before Lloyd wrote a second concerto for the violin. One of Lloyd's purest, most directly communicative melodies graces the Largo third movement. The solo instrument's poetic qualities are to the fore in music of supplicatory spirit. In a couple of ear-catching passages, the soloist's scrunchy, dissonant chords have the raspy nostalgia of a squeeze box. Lloyd completed his 'Cello Concerto in July 1997, a year before his death at the age of eighty-five and in this autumnal piece, one can discern a wistful, valedictory quality, with feelings of sorrow and regret surfacing repeatedly. The solo instrument's inherently lyrical aspect is suited to the composer's expressive needs, and the one-movement format allows the musical narrative to ebb and flow naturally so that this work has a strong claim to be regarded as Lloyd's most formally successful concertante piece. A small orchestra is required, consisting of double woodwind, three horns, modest percussion (for one player) and strings. © Paul Conway

Mozart: Piano Concertos 20 & 23
Olga Pashchenko, fortepiano; Il Gardellino
Alpha Classics ALPHA952
Release: 5 July 2024
Versatile historical keyboardist Olga Pashchenko continues her exploration of Mozart's Piano Concertos on period instruments with Il Gardellino. For this new release on Alpha Classics, Nos 20
and 23 were recorded mid-pandemic with Olga's two-month old baby in tow. Performing on a copy of
the Anton Walter fortepiano (ca. 1792) by Paul McNulty, and without a conductor, Olga leads the
orchestra from the keyboard in close collaboration with the concertmaster. Although her approach to performing Mozart's works is historically informed, Olga's recordings are 'Mozart for the modern ear', sensitive and virtuosic. As Musikzen described her previous Mozart album: 'It is an understatement to say that a hurricane of fresh air passes through these two interpretations which confirm an extraordinary talent.' The covers of her Mozart series reflect how Olga perceives the colour of the key (in this case red for D Minor), sharing with the audience a glimpse of her colourful synaesthetic world.

George Loughlin: Piano and Chamber Music
Toccata Classics TOCC 0720
Release: 5 July 2024
The Liverpudlian George Loughlin (1914-84) was appointed Ormond Professor of Music at the University of Melbourne in 1958, remaining in that post for twenty-one years. That he was also a composer was generally unknown - a former colleague, hearing one of the pieces on this album, exclaimed: 'That's George?' The earliest works are audibly by an English composer, one who knew his Vaughan Williams, and blend an honest sincerity with fleet-footed wit. The approach of the later pieces is more philosophical and searching, the harmony more at ease with dissonance and the melodic lines more angular - in both peppy counterpoint and long-breathed lyricism. Two of the works on this album were completely unknown until the composer's son discovered the manuscripts in the Library of Durham University.

David Matthews: Complete String Quartets, Vol 6
Toccata Classics TOCC 0732
Release: 5 July 2024
This release presents the sixth volume of string quartets by British composer David Matthews (born 1943). An earlier quartet quotes Australian birdsong; No 16 on this album quotes the (UK) robin. The American critic Robert Reilly described the music on Volume One of this cycle as 'some of the most concentrated, penetrating writing for this medium in the past thirty years or more. It is musical thinking of the highest order and quartet writing in the great tradition of Beethoven, Bartók, Britten, and Tippett'. The three works in this Vol 6 of Matthews' complete string quartets cover a quarter of a century but share the same basic features, not least a mastery of counterpoint, an impassioned lyricism, a sublimated hint of folksong and occasionally a sly sense of humour, all deployed to touch something essential in the listener. Matthews begins his booklet note with this release by saluting 'my now nearly thirty-year relationship with the Kreutzer Quartet, which has been as invaluable to me as Shostakovich's with the Beethoven Quartet, or Beethoven's with the Schuppanzigh Quartet'.

Heikki Klemetti: Works for Organ
Jan Lehtola, organ
Toccata Classics TOCC 0705
Release: 5 July 2024
Heikki Klemetti (1876-1953) was one of the most important figures in the Finnish music of his day: author, organiser, musicologist, editor, educator, folksong collector and, above all, choral composer. His work as an organist and composer for the organ has largely been forgotten, an omission this first-ever album of his organ music seeks to correct. The influence of Ostrobothnian folksong can readily be heard, and there are obvious points of contact with the musical language of Sibelius, not least in the unemphatic dignity and nobility of the style, with the modal harmonies occasionally calling to mind another of Klemetti's contemporaries: Vaughan Williams.

Adolf Busch: Orchestral Works, Vol 1
Lisa Wittig, soprano; BuschKollegium / Ulrich Wagner
Toccata Classics TOCC 0671
Release: 5 July 2024
Toccata Classics has brought out three albums over the past few years of the music of Adolf Busch (1891-1952) - two of chamber music with clarinet and one of the complete piano music. Busch has long been celebrated as one of the finest violinists in history and the leader of an exemplary string quartet, but he is now also slowly being discovered also as a major composer, with a style close to that of his good friend Max Reger. As with Reger, Busch combines effortless counterpoint, warm harmonies, a strong sense of orchestral colour and an ear for a good tune - as witness the five works to be heard on here, four of them in their first recordings and the other in its first modern recording.

John Schneider, guitar; Gloria Cheng, harpsichord
MicroFest Records M.F27
Release: 5 July 2024
Pastiches features compositions written by masters of the art. The album opens with Manuel Ponce's (1882-1948), Preludio in E for solo guitar and closes with the same work for guitar and harpsichord, performed with Gloria Cheng, as well as his Suite in A Minor. Ponce composed pastiches of Baroque, Classical and Romantic music at the request of guitarist Andrés Segovia. Additional works include Fantasia X (1546) by Alonso Mudarra, Renaissance Micropieces (1953) by Dusan Bogdanovic, Variations on a Theme by Handel (1827) by Mauro Giuliani,  Lou Harrison's (1917-2003) Two Sonatas, Usul and Three Jahlas, arranged by Schneider, The Courtly Dances from Benjamin Britten's Gloriana (1953) with percussionist Matthew Cook, and John Dowland's Come Heavy Sleep (arr. Britten) (1597/1963). Says Schneider 'In recording this album, I thought, "How would the guitar's early music pastiches sound if performed in their historically accurate temperaments?" Recent scholarship reveals that earlier eras enjoyed a delightful diversity of tunings, and what a difference it makes to hear Britten's imaginary Elizabethan court dances in Renaissance tuning, let alone Ponce's counterfeit Bach in Baroque well-temperament! How exciting to recapture the lost expressive power of those bygone eras: it gets us a few steps closer to the music's European roots.'


Posted 25 June 2024 by Keith Bramich



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