Brahms: Piano Concerto No 2 in B-flat major, Op 83: I, Allegro non troppo (18:52)
Hélène Grimaud, piano; Vienna Philharmonic / Andris Nelsons
Hélène Grimaud has climbed the Mount Everest of the romantic piano repertoire, performing Brahms’ piano concertos with Andris Nelsons conducting. The performances are being released as a double album. Grimaud recorded the First live with the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra and the Second with the Vienna Philharmonic in Vienna’s legendary Musikverein. It is Grimaud’s first recording with the Vienna Philharmonic.
Janáček: Violin Sonata (17:29)
Jennifer Koh, violin; Shai Wosner, piano
Grammy-nominated violinist Jennifer Koh and virtuoso pianist Shai Wosner play 20th-century works by three remarkable Central European composers who intertwine folkloric influences with their own unmistakable originality. The album includes Leoš Janáček’s Moravian-influenced Sonata for violin and piano, Béla Bartók’s impassioned Violin Sonata No 1, and compelling miniatures by György Kurtág.
Alan Thomas: Out of Africa (19:42)
Denis Azabagic, guitar
Denis Azabagic invites listeners into a realm where world, folk and classical music intersect on ‘Out of Africa and Around the World,’ the Bosnia-born, Chicago-based virtuoso’s first solo album on Cedille Records. Showcasing works by living composers, the album takes its title from Alan Thomas’s evocative Out of Africa, inspired by the Karen Blixen memoir and movie of the same name. Thomas weaves together strands of African singing styles, scales and rhythms, while paying homage to African string instruments, such as the kora and the oud.
Bach: Brandenburg Concerto No 4 in G major, BWV 1049 (14:35)
Dunedin Consort / John Butt
The Dunedin Consort takes its name from Edinburgh’s castle (Din Eidyn) and, like the famous landmark, has great cultural significance in the city and beyond. The group has just issued its first instrumental release: Bach: Six Brandenburg Concertos. Under the direction of Bach specialist John Butt, the Dunedin Consort demonstrates its collective experience and historical knowledge in an exceptionally insightful and fresh performance.
Corelli: Sonata da camera in D major, Op 4, No 4 (6:32)
Avison Ensemble / Pavlo Beznosiuk
The Avison Ensemble continue their stunning Corelli anniversary recording project with two of the less-often-recorded collections, the sonate da camera. Opus 2 and Opus 4 were published in Rome in 1685 and 1694, and they set the standard for the flowering of trio sonatas throughout Europe. Pavlo Beznosiuk and the Avison Ensemble have clearly given much thought and attention to their performances: beautifully understated, and allowing the music to speak for itself.
Palestrina: Missa O magnum mysterium: Sanctus (3:57); Benedictus (2:41); Agnus Dei (5:51)
The Sixteen / Harry Christophers
A towering figure in Renaissance polyphony, Palestrina is arguably one of the greatest composers of liturgical music of all time. Harry Christophers and The Sixteen continue their exploration of his work with the fourth disc in their celebrated series. This album features a selection of Palestrina’s music for Christmas including his largely unknown masterpiece, the Missa O magnum mysterium. Also presented are several unusual hymn settings and motets from the Song of Songs.
Ravel: Introduction et Allegro (11:25)
Yolanda Kondonassis, harp; Alexa Still, flute; Richard Hawkins, clarinet; Jupiter String Quartet
Throughout her career, internationally heralded harpist Yolanda Kondonassis has found herself fascinated by the creations of French composer Maurice Ravel. “Ravel: Intimate Masterpieces” is a celebration of Kondonassis’ longtime love of his music—and a celebration of the great roster of Oberlin Conservatory of Music talent that came together with her to record the album on campus in January 2013.
Rachmaninoff: Symphony No 1 in D minor, Op 13: III, Larghetto (9:55); IV, Allegro con fuoco (12:43)
Detroit Symphony Orchestra / Leonard Slatkin
This is the third recording from Naxos and the Detroit Symphony Orchestra in the symphonic music of Rachmaninoff. Their latest album features his First Symphony. After the disastrous failure of its premiere in 1897, the work had to wait until after his death before it was reconstructed from the surviving orchestral parts and performed again in 1945. Since then it has taken its rightful place as one of the great Russian symphonic works of the late nineteenth century.
Prokofiev: Violin Concerto No 1 in D major, Op 19 (21:57)
James Ehnes, violin; BBC Philharmonic / Gianandrea Noseda
This two-CD set offers all the works that Prokofiev wrote for the violin as solo instrument. One of the most sought-after and acclaimed violinists today, James Ehnes is accompanied by the BBC Philharmonic conducted by Gianandrea Noseda and by the pianist Andrew Armstrong, with whom he has previously made a number of highly acclaimed Chandos recordings. The distinguished Amy Schwartz Moretti joins him in the Sonata for Two Violins.
Bach: Goldberg Variations, BWV 988: Aria; Variations 1-6 (12:49)
Jeremy Denk, piano
Nonesuch presents pianist Jeremy Denk’s recording of J.S. Bach’s Goldberg Variations. A companion DVD contains video liner notes with Denk demonstrating passages on the piano as he explains certain details of the iconic piece. The work has long been a staple of Denk’s repertoire and his performances have received critical praise. The New York Times has remarked on his “profound affinity with Bach, ” and the Philadelphia Inquirer called Denk’s performance ”mesmerizing.”