Gabrieli: Quem vidistis pastores (8:41)
Choir of King’s College, His Majestys Sagbuts & Cornetts / Stephen Cleobury
This new album of music by 16th century Italian composer Giovanni Gabrieli is the latest release on the Choir of King’s College’s own label. The recording pays homage to one of the most influential musicians of the Venetian Renaissance from within one of the great buildings of the English Renaissance. The choir is joined by His Majestys Sagbutts & Cornetts playing faithful recreations of instruments from Gabrieli’s time.
Saint-Saëns: Violin Concerto No 3 in B minor, Op 61 (30:26)
Andrew Wan, violin; Montreal Symphony Orchestra / Kent Nagano
The concerto provided Saint-Saëns the opportunity to display technical virtuosity as well as to express musical ideas. He explained: “It is virtuosity itself I mean to defend. It is the source of color in music. It gives wings to the artist to help him escape from the prosaic and commonplace.” Andrew Wan is equally at home as a soloist, chamber musician, and concertmaster. In 2008, he was named concertmaster of the Montreal Symphony Orchestra, making him one of the youngest leaders of a major orchestra.
Cimarosa: I tre amanti: Overture (7:38)
Czech Chamber Philharmonic Orchestra Pardubice / Michael Halász
The most famous Italian opera composer of his day, Domenico Cimarosa saw his fame spread throughout Europe. Written towards the end of the ‘Neapolitan School’ era, his operas endured in popularity long after his death thanks to their melodic invention, colorful orchestration and sheer vitality. The overtures in this program include I tre amanti, the hit opera that made Cimarosa’s name outside Naples, and Il pittor parigino and the tragedy Giunio Bruto that were admired by Haydn and conducted by him at the Esterházy court.
Handel: La Resurrezione: Disserratevi, o porte d’Averno (4:50)
Julia Lezhneva, soprano; Il Giardino Armonico / Giovanni Antonini
The new album from Russian coloratura soprano Julia Lezhneva is a vibrant showcase of Handel’s Italian compositions, works known for their vocal virtuosity, sense of drama and melodic beauty. Lezhneva offers a selection of both sacred and secular arias for the soprano voice. She recorded the album at the Giovanni Arvedi Auditorium in Cremona, the northern Italian city famous as the home of great violin and string instrument makers.
Offenbach: Le Voyage dans la lune: Ballet of the Snowflakes (10:24)
Suisse Romande Orchestra / Neeme Järvi
Neeme Järvi and the Suisse Romande Orchestra’s exploration of 19th-century French orchestral music continues with a third release spotlighting the opera composer Jacques Offenbach. From highly successful satirical operettas to more ambitious works such as Les Contes d’Hoffmann, the vividly tuneful overtures on this recording reveal the captivating imagination of this prolific composer, as well as the flourishing theatrical life of Paris in his day.
New Release of the Week
Scarlatti: Sonata in E major, K 380 (4:14); Sonata in E major, K 135 (4:17)
Schumann: Arabeske in C major, Op 18 (7:07)
Vladimir Horowitz, piano
Vladimir Horowitz was very popular in Chicago – between 1928 and 1986 he played here thirty-seven times, having to repeat most of his performances in order to reach as many of his admirers as possible. In 1986, he offered to present a concert that would be broadcast as a gift to the city of Chicago. It was broadcast locally over WFMT and has not been heard since that time. Deutsche Grammophon has released the complete recital along with two interviews that were used as intermission features during the broadcast.
Prokofiev: Peter and the Wolf (25:08)
Alice Cooper, narrator; National Youth Orchestra of Germany / Alexander Shelley
Alice Cooper says that narrating Peter and the Wolf in Hollywood took him back to his childhood. “I first heard this back in Detroit, when I was six or seven years old. My mom put the record on and I was instantly transported to another world,” he recalls. “And it has been huge fun for me to do something new after nearly 50 years in the business.” This modern-day version is set in Los Angeles with a prequel that takes Peter on a thrilling journey before capturing the wolf.
Schubert: String Quintet in C major, D 956: I, Allegro ma non troppo (21:05)
Brentano String Quartet; Michael Kannen, cello
In September 2014, the Brentano String Quartet was joined by their founding cellist Michael Kannen for three performances of Schubert’s String Quintet at Amherst College. Throughout the weekend of concerts, the public was also invited to lectures, related recitals, a museum sound installation, and interactions with the artists. Azica has released a chronicle of this celebration of Schubert’s chamber masterpiece.
Bristow: Rip van Winkle: Overture (8:19)
Royal Northern Sinfonia / Rebecca Miller
George Frederick Bristow (1825-1898), a pillar of the New York musical community for most of the nineteenth century, was a composer, performer, conductor, educator, and a strong advocate for American music. This album features the world-premiere recording of the recently published critical edition of his Symphony No 2. First recordings of the Rip Van Winkle and Winter’s Tale overtures round out the program.
Garrop: Shadow (8:32)
CCPA Chamber Orchestra / Markand Thakar
Chicago composer Stacy Garrop’s first album of orchestral music features the world-premiere recording of her Mythology Symphony, a five-movement work inspired by famous female figures from Greek mythology. The symphony receives a compelling performance by conductor Alonda de la Parra leading the Chicago College of Performing Arts Symphony Orchestra of Roosevelt University. Markand Thakar leads the orchestra in Thunderwalker and Shadow.