2nd June 2008
This is just the pick of the recent releases. The New Releases and Future Releases pages are always available for browsing all the new and forthcoming releases.
Stravinsky: Symphony of Psalms, Symphony in C, Symphony in 3 movements
Berliner Philharmoniker & Rundfunkchor Berlin, Sir Simon Rattle
For some people this is unknown repertoire from a composer best known for his ballet scores. As Sir Simon says: “If you know only Firebird, Petrushka, the Rite of Spring, and nothing more, you have only a little tiny portion of Stravinsky’s output. And so you can get completely staggered by what you come across throughout his life.”
Perhaps the best-known of the works on this recording is the Symphony of Psalms, which uses a choir throughout singing Latin-language psalm settings against a background of a slightly unconventional orchestra without clarinets, violins or violas, but with two pianos.
Karen Geoghegan - Bassoon Concertos
Karen Geoghegan (bassoon), Orchestra of Opera North, Benjamin Wallfisch
Currently studying at the Royal Academy of Music with John Orford, nineteen-year-old Karen Geoghegan came to the attention of the British public late last year following her appearance as a finalist on Classical Star, a BBC reality programme. She proved immensely popular with the public and judges alike, and brought much needed attention to the bassoon, which has generally been neglected as a solo instrument.
The cellist Matthew Barley who was mentor and presenter of the show says of Karen, ‘with her sound and focus she is already one of the great wind players in the country’. Chandos’ Managing Director, Ralph Couzens, was so impressed by Karen’s performance that he contacted Karen the day following the broadcast, and offered her a contract.
Schubert: Piano Quintet "Trout" & Mozart: Piano Quartet in E-flat
Pinchas Zukerman (violin), Jethro Marks (viola), Amanda Forsyth (cello), Joel Quarrington (double bass), Yefim Bronfman (piano)
Two masterpieces of chamber music, Schubert’s Trout Quintet and Mozart’s Piano Quartet in E flat, recorded by three-time Grammy-winning violinist, conductor, and music director Pinchas Zukerman. For this recording he has teamed up with the Zukerman Chamber Players, in distinguished collaboration with guest artists including the Grammy-winning pianist Yefim Bronfman.
Schubert’s quintet in A Major, D.667 “The Trout”, was composed in 1819 when Schubert was 22 years old. The piece is known as the Trout because the fourth movement is a set of variations on Schubert's earlier Lied "Die Forelle" (The Trout).
Britten: Owen Wingrave
Peter Colman-Wright (baritone), Robin Leggate (tenor), Elizabeth Connell (soprano), Janice Watson (soprano), Sarah Fox (soprano), Alan Opie (baritone) & James Gilchrist (tenor), City of London Sinfonia & Tiffin Boys Choir, Richard Hickox
Following the success of his recent performance of the opera at London’s Cadagon Hall, the seasoned Britten performer Richard Hickox has committed the composer’s rarely recorded Owen Wingrave to disc. Commissioned by BBC television in 1966, the work is something of a Cinderella among Britten’s operas, despite its imaginative, closely knit score. One possible reason is that it was composed for television rather than the theatre.
Like its 1954 predecessor, The Turn of the Screw, Owen Wingrave is based on a ghost story by Henry James. Britten read the story while he was working on The Turn of the Screw, and even then conceived the idea of setting it as an opera. The music employs the relatively spare textures that Britten adopted in his later years.
Lidarti - Violin Concertos
Francesco D’Orazio (violin), Auser Musici
The eighteenth-century Italian composer Christian Joseph Lidarti’s three violin concertos are all recorded here for the first time. These charming works constitute an important Italian bridge between the baroque violin literature and the music of the classical period. They are virtuoso works of great technical difficulty, clearly written for the finest players of the day.
Nielsen - Complete Piano Music
Martin Roscoe (piano)
Nielsen’s piano works are among the most original and characteristic in the repertoire. There is no mistaking his idiosyncratic musical voice, his sense of joy of discovery and invention, and spirit of imagination and adventure. Nielsen’s complete piano music encompasses the full diversity and range of his creative output.
Though he never aspired to brilliance as a performer, Nielsen’s piano works are nevertheless marked by his intimate knowledge of the instrument and his awareness of the its creative and expressive capabilities. From the symbolist-inspired music of the 1890s to the highly modernist Three Pieces, these works constantly attest to the richness of his imaginative vision.
Bach - Cantatas Volume 39
Carolyn Sampson, Robin Blaze, Gerd Türk, Peter Kooij & Dmitry Badiarov (violoncello da spalla), Bach Collegium Japan & Concerto Palatino, Masaaki Suzuki
After two volumes concentrating on solo cantatas, the full forces of Bach Collegium Japan return in this programme of five cantatas dated 1725. The choir instantly makes its presence felt in the first movement of the opening work, BWV68.
All in all, another impressive installment in this highly acclaimed cycle.
Kraus - La Primavera
(Cantate Per Una Primadonna)
Simone Kermes (soprano), L’Arte del Mondo, Werner Ehrhardt
Joseph Haydn named him as ‘one of the greatest geniuses that I have ever known’. The Mozart contemporary Joseph Martin Kraus is finally regaining his place in the classical music pantheon, thanks in no small part to the efforts of Werner Ehrhardt who for many years has promoted his music.
On this new SACD the exceptional young soprano Simone Kermes performs these four cantatas, fascinating solo dramas en miniature, with élan. Renowned for her breathtaking coloratura, Kermes uses her virtuosiy to great effect in these forgotten jewels of the classical repertoire. In the tradition of the great vocal virtuosi of the time, Simone Kermes has enriched the cantatas with her own cadenzas. This disc includes world première recordings.
Brahms & Joachim - Hungarian Dances
Hagai Shaham (violin) & Arnon Erez (piano)
The forty-year friendship between Brahms and Joseph Joachim, violinist and composer, was one of the most significant and fruitful relationships in nineteenth-century music. Their admiration of each other’s artistry was profound and unwavering, and bore sustained creative fruit on Brahms’s side of which his Violin Concerto and Double Concerto are only the most famous examples. Joachim’s transcriptions of Brahms’s famous Hungarian Dances - originally written for piano duet or solo piano - are technically challenging for any violinist, and superbly idiomatic, constituting a kind of gypsy ‘Art of the Violin’. They represent the summit of Brahms’s ‘Hungarian’ art, and Joachim’s powers of transcription match them with violin writing of the greatest fastidiousness and authentic feeling.
The brilliant Hagai Shaham, acclaimed for his recordings of Hubay, is the ideal performer.