Beethoven: Wellington’s Victory, Op 91: I, The Battle (8:12)
Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra / Ondrej Lenárd
Holst: The Planets, Op 32: I, Mars, the Bringer of War (6:57)
Royal Scottish National Orchestra / David Lloyd-Jones
How to depict scenes of battle in music is a task that has long fascinated composers. From the dawning of the Renaissance, the first successful programmatic works appeared from Susato, Dowland and Biber. But it was the nineteenth and twentieth centuries that witnessed a true flourishing, when composers utilized the full resources of contemporary symphonism to evoke the tumult of battle. Later the medium of film, notably those produced in Hollywood, brought with it colorful and gripping scores.
Gould: String Quartet No 1 (35:47)
Through a collaborative arranging process, the Catalyst Quartet has created the first four-voiced version of Bach’s Goldberg Variations for string quartet. The album features this special contribution to the quartet repertoire along with Glenn Gould’s only published composition, his String Quartet, Op 1, completed just before recording his debut album of the Goldberg Variations in 1955.
Grieg: Valses-Caprices, Op 37: No 1 in C-sharp minor (4:55); No 2 in E minor (3:28)
Christiane Baume-Sanglard & Dana Ciocarlie, piano
Since their first encounter in 2007 during the Swiss festival Piano à Saint-Ursanne, Christiane Baume-Sanglard and Dana Ciocarlie have started working together and collaborating as a piano duo. They have since played in numerous concerts and festivals all over Europe. Through their friendship, their contrasting personalities make for a vibrant mixture of energy, poetry and musical expressiveness.
New Release of the Week
Riley: Jaztine (8:53)
Zofo is at it again, this time with an all-Terry Riley album, which includes original compositions, arrangements and a special commission by the duet. It is quite evident in this music that the composer and the performers were personally engaged in the making of this electrifying project. Riley himself said: “There is nothing quite like hearing the full 8 octaves of a piano sounding in all its orchestral richness.”
Leguizamón: Zamba de Lozano (4:47); El silbador (3:59)
Pablo Márquez, guitar
Gustavo “Cuchi” Leguizamón (1917-2000) was a unique figure in the musical culture of Argentina. Born in Salta (where guitarist Pablo Márquez was raised), Leguizamón was a poet, composer, pianist and guitarist, a popular artist and a highly sophisticated musician. He was rooted in Argentina’s traditional music, but also brought a new harmonic freedom to it, inspired by classical music and by 20th century composers including Debussy, Ravel and Schoenberg.
Shostakovich: Symphony No 9 in E-flat major, Op 70 (26:35)
Mariinsky Orchestra / Valery Gergiev
The Mariinsky’s Shostakovich cycle has been an internationally acclaimed project, conducted by the foremost interpreter of our time. Symphony No 9 is a deeply powerful composition in which Shostakovich delivered a work that was ‘Haydn-like in its proportions and Rossini-like in its wit.’ (Timothy Day). It is coupled with the dark and introspective Violin Concerto No 1, performed by Leonidas Kavakos, who was named Gramophone’s Artist of the Year 2014.
Grieg: Piano Concerto in A minor (30:48)
Javier Perianes, piano; BBC Symphony Orchestra / Sakari Oramo
The work of a young musician of 25, the celebrated Concerto of Grieg combines the great Romantic tradition (Liszt was one of its most fervent admirers) and Norwegian folk music. Yet the composer never wrote another, for he felt more comfortable writing in miniature forms. In 35 years he produced no fewer than 66 Lyric Pieces, every one a gem, from the March of the Trolls to the poetic meditations of Homesickness and Remembrances.
Messiaen: Préludes: Cloches d’angoisse et larmes d’adieu (8:59)
Matthew McCright, piano
This recording was conceived by pianist Matthew McCright by pairing music from two periods of Olivier Messiaen’s compositional life that are linked by the pianist Yvonne Loriod. Messiaen heard Loriod perform the Préludes, and she became his muse for countless compositions, including Vingt Regards sur l’Enfant Jésus, which was dedicated to her. McCright has performed extensively throughout the U.S., Europe, Asia and the South Pacific as a piano soloist and chamber musician.
Duport: 21 Etudes: No 7 in G minor (2:04); No 8 in D major (5:35)
Antonio Meneses, cello
Cello virtuosity reigns on ‘Capriccioso,’ the new album by Grammy-nominated Antonio Meneses, one of today’s most esteemed cellists. He harkens back to his predecessors – a quartet of European cellists who composed dazzling works for their own instrument. At the heart of the album are 12 Caprices by 19th-century Italian cellist Alfredo Piatti. Meneses adds the Bohemian-born David Popper’s Etude No 29, and bookends the album with Etudes by the French brothers Jean-Louis and Jean-Pierre Duport.
New Release of the Week
Donizetti: Maria Stuarda: Nella pace del mesto riposo (10:42)
Diana Damrau, soprano; Nicole Brandolino, mezzo-soprano; Teatro Regio Torino Orchestra / Gianandrea Noseda
In her first recital album devoted entirely to Italian opera, soprano Diana Damrau takes the golden age of bel canto, the early 19th century, as the starting point for an exploration of theatrical and musical passion that leads to the high-octane verismo drama of the 1890s. “Italian opera is an art form that deals with real feelings,” she says of the arias she has chosen by Bellini, Donizetti, Verdi, Puccini and Leoncavallo.