Beethoven: Coriolan Overture, Op 62 (7:07)
Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra / Bruno Weil
As part of its Beethoven Symphony Cycle project, Tafelmusik launches Symphonies 1-4 & Overtures double CD – all live recordings at Toronto’s Koerner Hall in 2012 and 2013. Long-time Tafelmusik conductor Bruno Weil directs these performances. He says, “We approach these symphonies as if they were the very first performance, as though the music had been composed yesterday. This is the real thing – there’s no sense of routine with Tafelmusik musicians, and everybody’s giving their all for this music, playing with a full heart and a full soul and spirit.”
Bach: Easter Oratorio, BWV 249 (41:07)
Hannah Morrison, soprano; Meg Bragle, alto; Nicholas Mulroy, tenor; Peter Harvey, bass; Monteverdi Choir, English Baroque Soloists / Sir John Eliot Gardiner
Following their acclaimed release of Bach’s Ascension Oratorio, the Monteverdi Choir and English Baroque Soloists have recorded the Easter Oratorio, BWV 249, one of Bach’s less-performed choral works. The Easter Oratorio was composed originally as a simple cantata, and was later revised into a more polished piece with a meditative emphasis and underlying narrative flavor. The work is paired with Bach’s Actus tragicus, BWV 106.
Brahms: Piano Concerto No 2 in B-flat major, Op 83: I, Allegro non troppo (17:13)
Maurizio Pollini, piano; Dresden Staatskapelle / Christian Thielemann
Recorded live in January 2013, this performance of Brahms’ Piano Concerto No 2 reunited Maurizio Pollini and the Dresden Staatskapelle under Christian Thielemann. Pollini and Thielemann had already won an ECHO award for their recording of the First Concerto, released in 2012. Brahms’ Second Piano Concerto has had a particularly notable history in the city of Dresden, where the composer himself played the work twice on the stage of the Semperoper, where this recording was made
Locke: Tripla Concordia: Suite in E minor (11:18)
Matthew Locke was the most prominent English musician of the generation before Purcell, occupying a unique place between the Renaissance consort tradition and Baroque chamber music. The Broken Consort refers to a group with mixed instruments, and Locke’s pieces entertained royalty with their ambitiously chromatic tonal language and rhythmic quirkiness. This recording is the debut release of Wayward Sisters, winners of the 2011 Early Music America/Naxos Recording Competition.
Grainger: Lincolnshire Posy (14:52)
United States Marine Band / Gerard Schwarz
Few wind ensembles have earned such international acclaim as the United States Marine Band, virtuosos who here perform an excitingly varied program directed by the award-winning conductor of the Seattle Symphony, Gerard Schwarz. Established classics such as Frederick Fennell’s edition of Percy Grainger’s Lincolnshire Posy sit alongside works by Paul Creston, Aaron Copland and Samuel Barber. Schwarz contributes his own recent composition Above and Beyond, written specifically for this band in recognition of its remarkable musicianship.
New Release of the Week
Sarasate: Jota aragonesa, Op 27 (4:48); Serenata andaluza, Op 28 (6:01)
Julia Fischer, violin; Milana Chernyavska, piano
The dazzling showpieces of violin legend Pablo Sarasate meet their match in Julia Fischer, one of the most sought-after musicians of her generation, delivering virtuoso pyrotechnics in a stunning recital disc. Fischer’s program includes Zigeunerweisen in the version for violin and piano and the popular Spanish Dances. Her recording will help shine a new light on Sarasate’s music, which she wants to restore to the concert platform. She feels that each of the pieces is a little gem with a mood and story all its own.
Mozart: Prelude & Fugue in D minor, K 405/4 (after JS Bach, BWV 877) (6:03)
Berlin Academy of Ancient Music
It has often been overlooked that, between Bach’s death (1750) and the triumphant revival of his St Matthew Passion by Mendelssohn in 1829, other composers had already investigated the ‘old master.’ Mozart was the most fervent among them. Thanks to the discoveries of his friend Baron van Swieten, he had the opportunity to explore the Well-Tempered Clavier and make the string arrangements from it featured on this new disc by the Berlin Academy of Ancient Music.
Bach: St John Passion, BWV 245: Part I Excerpts (14:18)
Soloists; Academy of Ancient Music Choir & Orchestra / Richard Egarr
Bach’s St John Passion is an intensely personal experience, bringing to life the humanity of the passion story. Combining raw viscerality with moments of exquisite intimacy, it was written soon after Bach’s arrival as Kantor at Leipzig’s Thomasschule. Keen to impress a new congregation, Bach produced a setting of the age-old passion story which overshadowed almost every piece of liturgical music the world had previously known. This recording by the Academy of Ancient Music aims to capture the authenticity and vivacity of the first Good Friday performance at Leipzig’s Nikolaikirche.
Liszt: Concert Paraphrase on Verdi’s Rigoletto (8:37)
Rinaldo Zhok, piano
Italian pianist Rinaldo Zhok’s first recording for Odradek features Liszt’s complete Verdi operatic transcriptions and paraphrases, which he brings together for the first time on CD in their entirety. Zhok says, “I have always loved the simplicity and effectiveness of Verdi’s music, sophisticated yet popular, with its patriotic ideals and its innovative conception of the theater. I decided to concentrate on transcriptions and paraphrases of works that are otherwise not accessible to pianists.”
Mendelssohn: Violin Concerto in E minor, Op 64 (25:55)
Chad Hoopes, violin; MDR Leipzig Radio Symphony Orchestra / Kristjan Järvi
Praised equally for his “molten bravura” (News Times Connecticut) and “understated sensitivity” (Sarasota Herald-Tribune), the exceptional 19-year-old violinist Chad Hoopes’ first disc from Naïve blends old-world passion and new-world panache, featuring two iconic concertos—Mendelssohn’s beloved Violin Concerto in E minor and John Adams’ endlessy melodic Violin Concerto from 1993.