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 Coming Soon  Bartók from Pablo Heras-Casado and other forthcoming releases

Among the forthcoming releases which have caught my eye since yesterday's return to work are a comprehensive survey of the songs of Nikolai Medtner from Iain Burnside and a superb line-up of singers (most of them native Russian speakers). Pablo Heras-Casado's first recording of Bartók, and the next instalment of Andrew Manze's terrific Mendelssohn series with the NDR Radiophilharmonie.

Watch out, too, for Anna Bonitatibus's fascinating exploration of breeches-roles spanning two centuries - she and I had a long chat about the project shortly before Christmas, and I'm looking forward to sharing our conversation here in the not too distant future!

Bartók: Concerto for Orchestra & Piano Concerto No. 3

Javier Perianes (piano), Münchner Philharmoniker, Pablo Heras-Casado

It’s not every conductor whose discography includes Monteverdi, Wagner and Bartók (all released within the space of three months!) but Heras-Casado has always been one to mix things up – the dance-like impetus and pared-down textures which are hallmarks of his baroque recordings pay similar dividends in this later repertoire.

Available Format: CD

Journey to Mozart

Daniel Hope (violin), Zurich Chamber Orchestra

Due for release on 9th February, Hope's new album sets Mozart's Third and Fourth Violin Concertos in the context of works by composers with a personal connection to Mozart, including Gluck, Mysliveček and Johann Peter Salomon.

Available Format: CD

Argerich & Ozawa: Beethoven

Martha Argerich (piano), Mito Chamber Orchestra, Seiji Ozawa

This is an album of 'firsts' in several respects - Argerich and Ozawa have never previously recorded together, and here they join forces for the Piano Concerto No. 1, captured live in concert in Japan last May and coupled with Symphony No. 1.

Available Format: CD

Mendelssohn: Symphonies Nos. 4 & 5

NDR Radiophilharmonie, Andrew Manze

Volume One of Manze’s Mendelssohn cycle (the First and ‘Scottish’ symphonies) was recently awarded a Schallplattenkritik Prize, and described as ‘close to ideal’ by Gramophone, so this second instalment of the ‘Italian’ and ‘Reformation’ symphonies is definitely on our watch-list.

Available Format: SACD

Deux

Patricia Kopatchinskaja (violin) & Polina Leschenko (piano)

The maverick violinist finds a kindred spirit in her new recital-partner, the Argerich protegée Leschenko, on this programme of twentieth-century works including sonatas by Bartók and Poulenc, Ravel’s Tzigane, and Dohnanyi’s transcription of a waltz from Delibes’s Coppelia.

Available Format: CD

Schumann: Quartets Nos. 2 & 3

Elias Quartet

The former BBC New Generation Artists have already established their Schumann credentials with a 'highly assured’ (BBC Music Magazine) recording of the Piano Quintet on Onyx and an equally well-received account of the First String Quartet on Wigmore Hall Live, so this new album is eagerly anticipated!

Available Format: CD

Falla: Fantasia Baetica

Garrick Ohlsson (piano)

The veteran American pianist presents Falla’s own transcriptions of dances from El sombrero de tres picos, El amor brujo and La vida breve as well as solo piano works including Canto de los remeros del Volga, Homenaje a Debussy and Fantasía Bética.

Available Format: CD

JS Bach: Mass in B minor

Trinity College Choir Cambridge, Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, Stephen Layton

Four years after their outstanding Christmas Oratorio (a Presto Recording of the Week at Christmas 2013), Layton and his excellent mixed-voice Cambridge choir turn their attention to the B Minor Mass; soloists include soprano Katherine Watson, countertenor Iestyn Davies and bass Neal Davies, all of whom have appeared on Layton’s earlier Bach recordings.

Available Format: 2 CDs

en travesti

Anna Bonitatibus (mezzo). Münchner Rundfunkorchester, Corrado Rovaris

The irrepressible Italian mezzo explores the operatic tradition of male roles written for female singers, taking in the great ‘trouser-roles’ of Handel, Rossini, Bellini and Mozart as well as their late-nineteenth and twentieth-century successors in works by Mascagni, Puccini, Massenet, Ravel and Strauss.

Available Format: CD

Songs of Vain Glory

Sophie Bevan (soprano), Sebastian Wybrew (piano)

Performed at the Wigmore Hall to commemorate the centenary of the beginning of World War One and released to mark the anniversary of the cessation of hostilities, this beautifully curated programme of English songs on the theme of war includes music by Bridge, Gurney, Britten, Stanford and Ivor Novello.

Available Formats: CD, MP3, CD Quality FLAC, Hi-Res FLAC

Medtner: Songs

Ekaterina Siurina (soprano), Justina Gringyte (mezzo), Oleksiy Palchykov, Robin Tritschler (tenors), Rodion Pogossov (baritone), Nikolay Didenko (bass) & Iain Burnside (piano)

Following the huge success of his Rachmaninov song project on Delphian ('sung gloriously, with palpable heart and soul' - Gramophone), Iain Burnside (plus three of the same singers) return to champion fifty songs by his contemporary Nikolai Medtner, including powerful and evocative settings of texts by Pushkin and Goethe.

Available Format: 2 CDs

Tchaikovsky: Pique Dame

Oleg Kulko (Herman), Nina Romanova (Countess), Karina A. Flores (Liza), Albert Schagidullin (Yeletsky), Ekaterina Semenchuk (Pauline); Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, Vladimir Jurowski

Jurowski leads a largely Russian cast (many of them Mariinsky alumni) in this concert-performance of Tchaikovsky’s supernatural drama of ghosts and gamblers, recorded live in Tel Aviv in 2012 shortly after his acclaimed cycle of the symphonies with the London Philharmonic Orchestra (recently re-released on the orchestra’s own label).

Available Format: 3 CDs