Andris Nelsons' Bruckner 3 and other forthcoming highlights
Time for another of my semi-regular round-ups of things that have made me prick up my ears as the preview copies and release-schedules hit my inbox this month, including the beginning of a promising Bruckner cycle from a new conductor/orchestra partnership and the continuation of a superb Mahler series from a rather more established relationship. There are also rafter-rattling live concert-performances of Wagner and Verdi, a compelling exploration of the opera arias of a neglected baroque master, and the world premiere recordings of two spellbinding new works for chamber ensemble and soloist by the British composer Howard Skempton.| Share
Gewandhausorchester, Andris Nelsons
A major new Bruckner cycle from the Latvian conductor and his orchestra-to-be (he takes over from Riccardo Chailly as Gewandhauskapellmeister in Leipzig next season, and Bruckner will feature in his ‘inauguration festival’ in February 2018) kicks off with the ‘Wagner Symphony’, paired with the Overture to Wagner's Tannhäuser.
Budapest Festival Orchestra, Iván Fischer
Fischer's ongoing Mahler series with his Budapest orchestra has scored a palpable hit with the Presto office thus far, and the characteristically astringent brass should pay especial dividends in this symphony - reviewing their First a few years ago, my colleague James commented that 'Fischer succeeds in creating that rustic, unrefined feel more than most recordings I’ve heard'.
Klaus Florian Vogt, Camilla Nylund, Katarina Dalayman, Evgeny Nikitin, Falk Struckmann; Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Mark Elder
We’ve test-driven this thrilling live recording (made in Amsterdam in December 2015) a few times already, and the cast is every bit as impressive as it looks on paper, especially Vogt’s ethereal, vulnerable swan-knight and Dalayman’s take-no-prisoners Ortrud. Rip-roaring brass in the third act, too.
I Fagiolini, Robert Hollingworth
I Fagiolini's celebration of Monteverdi’s 450th anniversary (and their own 30th birthday!) focuses not on the famous Vespers of 1610, but on works written towards the end of the composer's life, supplemented by music by Gabrieli, Frescobaldi, Palestrina, Castello and Viadana.
Erika Grimaldi, Daniela Barcellona, Francesco Meli, Michele Pertusi; London Symphony Orchestra & Chorus, Gianandrea Noseda
Described by The Telegraph as 'searingly intense', Noseda's visceral, driven account of Verdi's score made quite an impact on the Presto team in this live performance at the Barbican last autumn; in a strong all-Italian line-up of soloists, tenor Francesco Meli stands out as first among equals.
Julia Lezhneva (soprano), Concerto Köln, Mikhail Antonenko
The effervescent young Russian soprano brings her customary exuberance and pin-point coloratura to little-known opera arias by the German-born, Italian-domiciled composer Heinrich Graun, including searing laments and pyrotechnic show-stoppers. Watch this space for an interview with Julia about the project over the coming weeks...
Roderick Williams (baritone), Birmingham Contemporary Music Group, Martyn Brabbins
We'll confess to a slight vested interest in this one (the work was commissioned by Presto founder and arts benefactor Maurice Millward!), but Skempton's setting of Coleridge's great poem is starkly hypnotic, with Williams on mesmerising form as the tortured protagonist; reviewing the premiere, The Guardian praised the 'wonderful economy' of the score.'
Copyright © 2002-17 Presto Classical Limited, all rights reserved.