Mozart: Adagio in E major, K 261 (6:48); Rondo in C major, K 373 (5:24)
Frank Peter Zimmermann, violin; Bavarian Radio Chamber Orchestra / Radoslaw Szulc
When Frank Peter Zimmermann says that Mozart has always been easy for him, he needs only to recall his debut concert at the age of ten when he played Mozart’s G major Concerto, K 216; or when as a 20-year-old, he made his first recording of the five concertos for EMI. He’s played these works nearly 300 times in concert, and one can appreciate the intense physical and spiritual experience that Zimmermann brings to these new recordings.
Haydn: Seven Last Words of Christ on the Cross: Introduction (5:53); Sonata I (7:31)
Originally an orchestral composition from 1786, Seven Last Words of Christ is most frequently heard in its string quartet arrangement. Attacca Quartet violist Luke Fleming believes that version was hastily published to cash in on the original’s popularity. After having spent the past five years immersed in Haydn’s complete string quartets, the members of Attacca have now made a new arrangement based on the orchestral score.
Poulenc: Quatre motets pour le temps de pénitence (13:12)
Elora Festival Singers / Noel Edison
Brought up in the Roman Catholic faith, which he abandoned in 1917 following the death of his father, Poulenc returned to the Church in 1936 after the death of his close friend and fellow composer Pierre-Octave Ferroud. Together these events caused a spiritual crisis in Poulenc’s life which led to a series of important compositions for chorus. The powerful Mass in G major, dedicated to the memory of his father, is notable for its daring use of tonality. In the Sept Chansons and in the two sets of Motets, Poulenc generates a huge range of emotion.
Lieberson: Piano Variations (13:41)
Benjamin Hochman, piano
Pianist Benjamin Hochman follows his critically acclaimed Avie debut with a program centered on the age-old musical form of variations. At the heart of the album is the Handel Variations by Brahms, a grand master of the art form. The four shorter Piano Variations on this recording are by major composers of the late 20th and early 21st century: Oliver Knussen, Luciano Berio, George Benjamin and Peter Lieberson.
Bogdanović: Six Ricercars (on a Theme by Milano) (7:00)
Los Angeles Guitar Quartet
In their latest recording, the Los Angeles Guitar Quartet embarks on a journey through Spain, Italy, England and France. Featuring original arrangements and compositions inspired by such Renaissance masters as Francesco da Milano, John Dowland and Josquin des Prez, it also shares a connection with Miguel de Cervantes in a 16-movement suite originally created for the quartet’s theater work “The Ingenious Gentleman Don Quixote.”
Johnson: Have you seen but a bright Lily grow (1:54)
Blow: Fairest work of happy nature (3:23); The Self Banished (2:01)
Purcell: Sweeter than roses (3:21)
Nicholas Phan, tenor; Michael Leopold, lute; Ann Marie Morgan, viola da gamba
For his third album on Avie, tenor Nicholas Phan turns to a group of Renaissance and Baroque English composers who greatly influenced Benjamin Britten, the muse of his two previous recordings. ‘A Painted Tale’ – the title taken from a lyric by 16th century composer Thomas Morley – features songs with lute and viola da gamba by John Blow, John Dowland, Alfonso Ferrabosco, Robert Johnson, Nicholas Lanier and Henry Purcell.
Vieuxtemps: Violin Concerto No 4 in D minor, Op 31 (30:36)
Hilary Hahn, violin; Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen / Paavo Järvi
The two-time Grammy Award-winning violinist Hilary Hahn combines Mozart’s beloved Concerto No 5 with its fiery Turkish episode with the rich, virtuosic romanticism of Vieuxtemps’ Violin Concerto No 4. Hahn first learned both works when she was 10 years old and studied them with her most influential teachers. Recording them for the first time, Hahn is joined by Paavo Järvi and the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen.
Parry: Hear my words, ye people (14:42)
Douglas Tang, organ; Choir of King’s College, Cambridge / Stephen Cleobury
This release from the Choir Of King’s College, Cambridge, is the first to show the choir doing what they do on a daily basis: keeping the Anglican choral tradition alive, at the very highest standards. The repertoire is English hymn-anthems – a subset of the music they sing in services every day. The album represents a continuation of the choir’s commitment to original research expanding the popular understanding of the repertoire through recording, and includes a solo from the internationally renowned trumpeter Alison Balsom.
Bach/Busoni: Solo Violin Partita No 2 in D minor, BWV 1004: Chaconne (15:37)
Anna Shelest, piano
Sorel Classics is a new non-profit label devoted to highlighting the talent and achievements of singers, instrumentalists and composers. For its inaugural album, Sorel introduces Anna Shelest, a native of Ukraine who now resides in New York. She has been described as an artist of “fiery sensibility and warm touch” by the New York Times. Shelest came to the attention of Sorel after a Carnegie Hall performance as first prize winner of the Bradshaw & Buono International Piano Competition.
Bach, orch Sitkovetsky: Goldberg Variations, BWV 988: Aria, Variations 1-12 (23:42)
Britten Sinfonia / Thomas Gould
The Britten Sinfonia performs Dmitry Sitkovetsky’s beautifully realized arrangement for strings of Bach’s great keyboard work, the Goldberg Variations. Sitkovetsky’s arrangement (first conceived for string trio and later expanded for string orchestra) was made in 1985 on the 300th anniversary of Bach’s birth. He dedicated the string trio version to Glenn Gould, and it’s clear from much of the written-out ornamentation that Gould’s recordings of the Goldbergs were Sitkovetsky’s passport into the music.