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.
Trad, arr Harris: Go Down, Moses (5:56)
Chicago a cappella / Jonathan Miller
Chicago a cappella’s debut recording on the Gothic Records label is a moving and joyous collection of spirituals, featuring new settings of powerful melodies by a host of brilliant and innovative composers. The program features four works commissioned by Chicago a cappella and nine world premiere recordings, including pieces by Joseph Jennings, Rollo Dilworth, Paul Crabtree, Paul Carey and Jonathan Miller.
Michelagnolo Galilei: Lute Sonata in C minor (10:46)
Anthony Bailes, lute
Michelagnolo Galilei, the younger brother of the famous Galileo, was a professional lutenist at the court of Maximillian of Bavaria. In this position, he followed in the footsteps of his father, Vincenzo, also a lutenist but equally renowed as a theorist. Both Michelagnolo and Galileo were taught to play the lute by their father, and the music included in this program would have been played by both brothers.
New Release of the Week
Plainchant: O quam tristis et afflicta (0:37)
Tallis: In ieiunio et fletu (4:00)
Stainer: God so loved the world (3:35)
Choir of Clare College, Cambridge / Graham Ross
This is the second disc from the choir of Clare College, Cambridge in their series based on the major festivals in the Anglican calendar, and, like ‘Veni Emmanuel,’ is produced by John Rutter. In this richly varied Passiontide sequence, polyphonic settings of the great texts of Holy Week are interwoven with a plainchant rendition of the mournful ‘Stabat Mater,’ the traditional medieval poem meditating on the death of Jesus and the grief of his mother.
Tchaikovsky: Manfred Symphony, Op 58: IV, Allegro con fuoco (20:21)
Russian National Orchestra / Mikhail Pletnev
Long a concert rarity, Tchaikovsky’s Manfred Symphony contains the gamut of musical elements: passion, precision, drama, lyric beauty and an organ apotheosis in the finale. In this concluding release to his complete recording of Tchaikovsky’s symphonies, Mikhail Pletnev is in his element, with a Romantic poet (Byron), a strife-torn hero (Manfred), not to mention one of the greatest of all composers.
New Release of the Week
Prokofiev: Piano Concerto No 1 in D-flat major, Op 10 (15:31)
Jean-Efflam Bavouzet, piano; BBC Philharmonic / Gianandrea Noseda
Jean-Efflam Bavouzet performs all five of Prokofiev’s formidable piano concertos in partnership with Gianandrea Noseda and the BBC Philharmonic. The flair of Bavouzet for powerful 20th-century repertoire was made clear in his recording of Bartók’s Piano Concertos, described by the Daily Telegraph as ‘vibrant in color, vital in rhythm and detail, and viscerally exciting in impact.’ Prokofiev wrote these works between 1911 and 1932, mostly as performing vehicles for himself during his most active period as a pianist of astonishing gifts.
Leclair: Flute Concerto in C major, Op 7 No 3 (14:12)
Indianapolis Baroque Orchestra / Barthold Kuijken, flute
The Indianapolis Baroque Orchestra has released its first recording, depicting the splendor of Versailles in works written for Louis XIV, known as the Sun King. Flutist and director Barthold Kuijken says, “This recording is the realization of a long-cherished dream. I have always been fascinated by French Baroque music, with its peculiar balance of grandeur and finesse, etiquette and freedom, restraint and expression, clarity and intricate ornamentation.”