Strauss, arr. Příhoda: Waltzes from Der Rosenkavalier (7:56)
Leonidas Kavakos, violin; Enrico Pace, piano
Leonidas Kavakos plays some of the most colorful and demanding violin works ever written, paired with a selection of beautiful and lyrical encores. Kavakos described his motivation for the disc: “After recording the Beethoven and Brahms violin sonatas, which is rather heavy repertoire, I wanted to present something that contained a greater variety of different styles and that focused on the violin as an expressive instrument.”
Bach: Solo Violin Sonata No 3 in C major, BWV 1005: IV, Allegro assai (3:32)
Beethoven: Violin Concerto in D major, Op 61: III, Rondo: Allegro (10:29)
Yehudi Menuhin, violin; Philharmonia Orchestra / Wilhelm Furtwangler
As a musician, and as a true world citizen, Yehudi Menuhin made an extraordinary mark on his era. ‘The Menuhin Century’ commemorates the 100th anniversary of his birth on April 22, 1916. Comprising a total of 80 CDs, divided into five themed boxes, 11 DVDs and a hardback book, ‘The Menuhin Century’ draws on the unequalled 70-year relationship between the violinist and the record company HMV/EMI. About a third of the discs are rare or unreleased recordings, offering a voyage of discovery both to Menuhin aficionados and to music-lovers who might be experiencing his art for the first time.
Herbert: Cello Concerto No 2 in E minor, Op 30 (22:33)
Mark Kosower, cello; Ulster Orchestra JoAnn Falletta
Irish-born Victor Herbert was one of the most celebrated names in American music in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. A cellist, conductor, and composer of light operas, he was also a recording artist. His two cello concertos are full of gracious melodies, the D major having a song-like slow movement and a spirited polonaise finale. The E minor concerto is more tightly constructed, and it was hearing this work that inspired Antonín Dvořák to write his own great B minor cello concerto.
Shakespeare: Sonnet 43 (1:14)
Siân Phillips, narrator
Wainwright: Nine Shakespeare Sonnets: When Most I Wink (Sonnet 43) (4:56)
Anna Prohaska, soprano; BBC Symphony Orchestra / Jayce Ogren
Rufus Wainwright celebrates the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death by releasing a collection of nine sonnets in performances by actors and vocalists. The seeds for this album were sown in 2009, when director Robert Wilson asked Wainwright to compose music for his Shakespeare’s Sonnets production. Alongside Wainwright’s songs, Shakespeare’s poems are also recited by a roster of renowned actors.
Clarice Assad: Sephardic Suite: Ay sarica, bre (6:20)
Cavatina Duo; Avalon String Quartet
The Cavatina Duo’s ‘Sephardic Journey’ emerged from startling discoveries in their family history. When Spanish flutist Eugenia Moliner and Bosnian guitarist Denis Azabagic learned they each had distant roots in the Sephardic Jewish world of Old Spain, the husband-and-wife duo decided to explore their mutual heritage through music. The album comprises five world-premiere recordings of new works written expressly for them. All are based on early Sephardic melodies.
Traditional Ladino: Ah, el Novio no kere dinero! (2:09); La Rosa enflorese (4:03); La Komida la Manyana (3:17)
Apollo’s Fire / Jeannette Sorrell
The Spanish Jews in their travels absorbed the colorful musical accents of Italy and the Middle East, including exotic percussion. Apollo’s Fire takes a musical journey, interweaving Sephardic folk song with the Monteverdi-like Hebrew choral work of Salamone Rossi – the Songs of Solomon. The daily rhythms of life – love, rejection, feasting and celebration – culminate in the mystical prayers of Shabbat.
Beethoven: Symphony No 4 in B-flat major, Op 60 (34:48)
Concentus Musicus Vienna / Nikolaus Harnoncourt
For his last recording, Nikolaus Harnoncourt conducted Beethoven’s Symphonies 4 and 5 with Concentus Musicus Vienna, the orchestra that he founded in 1953. The recording is taken from two sold-out concerts at the Musikverein in Vienna. While Harnoncourt’s Beethoven cycle with the Chamber Orchestra of Europe was a milestone, he always wanted to record these works on historic instruments. For him, it was the best way to demonstrate Beethoven’s radicalism in sound.
Vivaldi: The Four Seasons: Violin Concerto in E major, R 269, Spring (9:55)
David Aaron Carpenter, viola; Salomé Chamber Orchestra
There is no shortage of recordings of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, but this one really is different. First of all, it’s played on the viola, not on the violin – by David Aaron Carpenter. Plus, Vivaldi’s concertos are programmed alongside recent works inspired by the cycle of spring, summer, autumn and winter: Four Seasons of Buenos Aires by Astor Piazzolla, and A Manhattan Four Seasons by the Ukrainian-American composer Alexey Shor.
Bach: Concerto in D minor, BWV 974 (after Marcello) (11:11)
Luc Beauséjour, piano
Luc Beauséjour is a highly sought-after musician for his virtuosity and the subtlety of his playing on the harpsichord and organ. The repertoire heard on this recording, originally written for the harpsichord during the Baroque period, is played on piano. Beauséjour selected works that appealed to him most and that he felt worked best on the piano.
Cazzati: Beatus vir (13:08)
Voces Suaves / Francesco Saverio Pedrini
Voces Suaves is a vocal ensemble from Basel which specializes in one-to-a-part performances of Renaissance and Baroque music. Their new album focuses on sacred music of Maurizio Cazzati (1616-1678), one of the earliest composers to promote and sell his music via the press. He was the most prolific printed composer of the 17th century.