Mendelssohn: Songs without Words, Op 67 No 2 (1:58)
Chopin: Waltz in D-flat major, Op 64 No 1 (1:50)
Saint-Saëns/Godowsky: Carnival of the Animals: The Swan (2:49)
Couperin: Le Tic-Toc-Choc (2:32)
Alexandre Tharaud, piano
Pianist Alexandre Tharaud proves that good things come in small packages. His new album contains 23 pieces that make perfect encores (or, in French ‘bis’) at the end of a recital. Reflecting Tharaud’s varied tastes in music, it comprises both original pieces and arrangements by composers from the 17th century to the present day.
Beethoven: Piano Sonata No 15 in D major, Op 28, Pastoral (22:53)
Jonathan Biss, piano
Jonathan Biss has been on a journey of exploring Beethoven, diving deep into the mind of the composer and steadily working his way through recording all 32 of the piano sonatas, aiming for completion by 2020. Biss has released the third volume of this decade-long project, performing Sonatas Nos 15, 16 and 21, known as the Waldstein.
Vivaldi: Two-Violin Concerto in C major, R 508 (9:59)
Riccardo Minasi & Dmitry Sinkovsky, violins; Il Pomo d’Oro
This is the 51st title in the Vivaldi Edition and the 6th volume, out of approximately 12, of the series dedicated to the violin concertos whose manuscripts are held in the National Library of Turin. Following two successful volumes of concertos for solo violin and orchestra recorded separately in the Vivaldi Edition, virtuosos Riccardo Minasi and Dmitry Sinkovsky now join forces to record pyrotechnic concertos for two violins and orchestra.
Dvořák: Cello Concerto in B minor, Op 104: III, Finale (12:37)
Alisa Weilerstein, cello; Czech Philharmonic Orchestra / Jiří Bělohlávek
This new album explores works created during the time Dvořák spent in the United States and features his Cello Concerto and Silent Woods, both recorded with Jiří Bělohlávek and the Czech Philharmonic. Also included are arrangements of “Song to the Moon” from Rusalka, and the song Goin’ Home, written by one of Dvořák’s pupils and based on the melody from the Largo movement of his “New World” Symphony.
Janáček: String Quartet No 1, Kreutzer Sonata (19:03)
The acclaimed Jerusalem Quartet’s latest release focuses on works by two giants of Czech music. Though Smetana, the founder of the Czech national school, and Janáček, his spiritual heir, are best known as operatic composers, they also left strongly autobiographical chamber works. Composed when he was already profoundly deaf, Smetana’s String Quartet No 1 looks back over the different stages of his life. Also written late in life, Janáček’s second quartet, subtitled Intimate Letters, describes his unfulfilled passion for Kamila Stösslová, his junior by 38 years.
Villa-Lobos, arr Avital: Bachianas brasileiras No 5: Aria (5:17)
Tsintsadze, arr Avital: Miniatures: Shepherd’s Dance; Song; Dance Tune (4:43)
Avi Avital, mandolin; Ensemble
From Bach to bluegrass, the mandolin is the chameleon of the music world – every culture and musical genre features the mandolin or one of its close relatives. Avi Avital is the instrument’s most charismatic and versatile exponent. After the success of his debut Bach recording, Avital returns with a selection of melodies and dances from Europe, Central Asia and the Americas, each with roots in popular folk traditions, arranged by some of the world’s greatest classical composers.
Sayat-Nova, arr Kradjian: The Nightingale (4:47)
Isabel Bayrakdarian, soprano; Manitoba Chamber Orchestra / Anne Manson
“The works on this recording bring us into another world of language, color and sound,” says conductor Anne Manson. “Greek, Hebrew, Arabic, Armenian and Occitane are reflected in a sound which stems partly from western classical tradition and partly from world music.” The album showcases Isabel Bayrakdarian in music by Ravel and Sayat-Nova, and a new piece, Trobairitz Ysabella, by Canadian composer Serouj Kradjian.
Moeran: Rhapsody No 1 in F (11:26)
Ulster Orchestra / JoAnn Falletta
Ernest John Moeran’s Rhapsodies occupy a significant place among his orchestral compositions. Each is marked by melodic exuberance, inventive scoring and formal mastery. Moeran’s gift for imbuing his music with folkloric tunes that are actually his own is especially evident in the First Rhapsody and in his first orchestral work, In the Mountain Country. First performed in 1943, the Rhapsody for piano and orchestra is popular in style, with an appealing tunefulness.
Wagner: Das Rheingold: Symphonic Excerpts (22:17)
Paris National Opera Orchestra / Philippe Jordan
In June 2013, the Paris Opéra, under its music director Philippe Jordan, marked Wagner’s bicentenary with Der Ring des Nibelungen. It was the first time in more than 60 years that the company had performed the complete cycle under festival conditions. This program of excerpts from the Ring is rounded off with Brünnhilde’s Immolation Scene, sung by today’s leading Wagnerian dramatic soprano, Nina Stemme.
Clementi: Piano Sonata in G major, Op 37 No 2 (14:11)
Ian Hominick, piano
If Haydn is the father of the string quartet and the symphony, Muzio Clementi has with some justification been called the father of the piano. He had great influence on other composers, not least of all Beethoven, who was one of his greatest admirers. The influence of Clementi’s sonatas is evident in youthful Beethoven. It was Clementi who passed on to a whole new generation of pianists his ideals of performance, which not only emphasized legato technique but a broad range of technical challenges.