Beethoven: Piano Sonata No 14 in C-sharp minor, Op 27 No 2, Moonlight (14:17)
Alessio Bax, piano
Alessio Bax returns to disc on Signum with two masterworks of Beethoven’s piano repertoire – the Moonlight and Hammerklavier Sonatas – as well as a new arrangement from The Ruins of Athens. Bax has been praised for creating “a ravishing listening experience” (Gramophone). He was the First Prize winner at the Leeds and Hamamatsu international piano competitions and a 2009 Avery Fisher Career Grant recipient.
Dvořák: Symphony No 7 in D minor, Op 70 (37:59)
Czech Philharmonic / Jiří Bělohlávek
Marking a triumphant return to the orchestra where he trained, conductor Jiří Bělohlávek has recorded Decca’s first Dvořák cycle since the 1960s. Dvořák himself conducted the Czech Philharmonic’s first concert in 1896, and the shared Bohemian heritage of composer, conductor and orchestra lends a special authenticity to these recordings. Dvořák’s three concertos (violin, cello and piano) are featured alongside his nine symphonies, with cellist Alisa Weilerstein, violinist Frank Peter Zimmermann and pianist Garrick Ohlsson.
Fontana: Sonata Seconda (7:00)
Rachel Podger, violin; Marcin Świątkiewicz, harpsichord; Daniele Caminiti, theorbo
With works by Frescobaldi, Gabrieli, Pandolfi, Fontana and others, this beautiful collection of masterpieces showcases prime examples of the early Italian Baroque. Some composers dominate the repertory; others have left behind only a handful of works. Here, they come together to convey the diverse musical landscape of such an excitingly rich and creative era.
Schubert: Gretchen am Spinnrade, D 118 (3:40)
Anna Prohaska, soprano; Marie-Pierre Langlamet, harp
Schubert: Piano Trio in B-flat major, D 28, Sonatensatz (7:23)
Lara St John, violin; Ludwig Quandt, cello; Marie-Pierre Langlamet, harp
This second recording collaboration between Ancalagon Records and Berlin Philharmonic principal harpist Marie-Pierre Langlamet gives a portrait of Schubert’s life from early to late in his short, prolific career. Langlamet does not arrange the keyboard parts, but performs them exactly as written by Schubert. “Had Schubert lived into the era of the double-action pedal harp, I am quite certain he would have written his Harfner songs and Arpeggione sonata to be paired with this instrument,” says violinist Lara St John.
Sculthorpe: String Quartet No 12, From Ubirr (12:22)
Del Sol Quartet; Stephen Kent, didjeridu
The two-time winner of the top Chamber Music America ASCAP Award for Adventurous Programming, the Del Sol String Quartet teams up with didjeridu virtuoso Stephen Kent to bring to life the unique Complete String Quartets with Didjeridu by the late Australian composer Peter Sculthorpe. Elected an Australia National Trust Living Treasure in 2002, Sculthorpe’s output related closely to Australia‘s social and physical climate and the Pacific Basin cultures. Since the mid-1980s, Kent has pioneered the contemporary use of didjeridu in myriad associations and cross-disciplinary collaborations.
New Release of the Week
Kocher, arr Rudoi: For the Beauty of the Earth (3:05)
Thompson: The Pasture (2:52)
Trad, arr Caracciolo: Simple Gifts (3:16)
For years, public radio listeners around the country have celebrated ‘Thanksgiving with Cantus’ from American Public Media. This fall, Cantus releases a recording of beloved songs celebrating the joy of the holiday. ‘A Harvest Home’ includes original arrangements of favorite hymns, American folk tunes as well as new compositions by Ysaye Barnwell, Byron Adams and pieces by Edvard Grieg, Felix Mendelssohn and Randall Thompson.
Paulus: Grand Concerto for Organ & Orchestra: III, Jubilant (8:05)
Nathan Laube, organ; Nashville Symphony / Giancarlo Guerrero
The music world lost a major and powerful voice this month with the death of American composer Stephen Paulus. The Nashville Symphony had a close relationship with Paulus for many years and presents three of his works. ‘Veil of Tears’ is a moving stand-alone interlude from his widely performed Holocaust oratorio To Be Certain of the Dawn. The album also features two world-premiere recordings: Concerto for String Quartet & Orchestra and Grand Concerto for Organ & Orchestra.
Vivaldi: Recorder Concerto in E-flat major, R 375 (12:41)
Maurice Steger, recorder; I Barocchisti / Diego Fasolis
It may come as a surprise to some that the violin was not the most frequently played instrument in the early 18th century: that distinction belongs to the recorder. Vivaldi was among the composers most sensitive to the instrument’s complex identity, as he shows in his concertos for recorder. On this disc, acclaimed virtuoso Maurice Steger offers highly impressive versions of such popular works as La pastorella, Il gardellino, and the evergreen La notte.
Bach: The Well-Tempered Clavier, Book I: Preludes & Fugues I – III (11:32)
Pierre-Laurent Aimard, piano
Pierre-Laurent Aimard is about to embark on a personal artistic journey. The French pianist will spend much of the next year in company with the music of Johann Sebastian Bach, digging deep beneath the surface of one of the composer’s greatest works. Aimard’s Bach odyssey will span four continents, reaching audiences in fifteen countries with thirty-four performances featuring the first book of The Well-Tempered Clavier.
Mozart: Piano Concerto No 24 in C minor, K 491: I, Allegro (15:28)
Lang Lang, piano; Vienna Philharmonic / Nikolaus Harnoncourt
For his first all-Mozart album, Lang Lang teams up with Mozart authority Nikolaus Harnoncourt. The album presents two of Mozart’s piano concertos as well as solo pieces on two discs. The concertos (No 24 in C Minor, K 491, and No 17 in G Major, K 453) were recorded with the Vienna Philharmonic at the Vienna Musikverein. From the solo pieces, the three early piano sonatas have been part of Lang Lang’s latest recital program which he presented in more than 200 concerts worldwide. These recordings were captured at his Royal Albert Hall concert in 2013.