Medtner: Piano Concerto No 2 in C minor, Op 50 (38:57)
Marc-André Hamelin, piano; London Philharmonic Orchestra / Vladimir Jurowski
Although their reputations could scarcely be more disparate, Sergei Rachmaninoff and Nikolai Medtner make an exceptionally interesting, like-minded pairing. Both were renowned concert pianists, and both wrote superbly for their instrument, unleashing hordes of notes that nevertheless fall gratifyingly under the fingers—at least expert ones.
Mozart: Violin Sonata in F major, K 547 (20:20)
Alina Ibragimova, violin; Cédric Tiberghien, piano
The third of the ongoing series from the ‘nigh-on ideal’ partnership (Gramophone) of Alina Ibragimova and Cédric Tiberghien. As before, the program mixes the early—two works by the precocious ten-year-old—with the mature, and includes Mozart’s final violin sonata.
Hugh Sturmy: Exultet in hac die (3:31)
Robert Hunt: Ave Maria (4:40)
Blue Heron / Scott Metcalfe
Volume 5 of ‘Music from the Peterhouse Partbooks’ contains the world premiere recording of a Mass by an anonymous English composer from the first half of the 16th century. The release also includes an antiphon addressed to St Augustine of Canterbury which is the only surviving work of Hugh Sturmy, a short and dramatic Ave Maria by Robert Hunt, and the sonorous and captivating Ve nobis miseris by John Mason.
Mozart: Symphony No 25 in G minor, K 183 (24:52)
Camerata Chicago / Drostan Hall
Founded in 2003, Camerata Chicago is a chamber orchestra equally at home in intimate settings as well as in larger chamber music venues, performing the rich tapestry of diverse chamber orchestral repertoire. This recording of Mozart’s Symphonies No’s 25 and 40 was recorded on April 29, 2016.
Brian Knowles: A Fond Farewell (7:45)
Craig Ogden, guitar; Orchestra of Opera North / David Angus
Craig Ogden is one of the great guitarists of our time. His new album is devoted to the music of Belfast-born composer Brian Knowles, whose Guitar Concerto is infused with Spanish traditional music and atmosphere. The program also features other works with guitar: Poco Rondo, Eight Songs setting Shakespeare, and A Fond Farewell.
Beethoven: Violin Sonata No 6 in A major, Op 30 No 1 (23:33)
James Ehnes, violin; Andrew Armstrong, piano
One their latest album, the duo of old friends James Ehnes and Andrew Armstrong turn to Beethoven and two A major sonatas with very different moods. The 9th, ‘Kreutzer’ sonata, is a huge work, heroic and turbulent in character – a kind of concerto for violin and piano. By contrast, the 6th sonata is a serene, introspective work of great beauty which has tended to be overlooked by its more outward-looking siblings.
Albéniz, arr. Labeyrie: Suite española: Excerpts (13:44)
Brass United is an ensemble of five prominent players from different geographical and cultural backgrounds. Their close friendship over the years has been nurtured by the desire to bring a large audience to the very best in music for brass. ‘Pitch Black’ is Brass United’s debut recording, and it presents a wide variety of new pieces and arrangements for brass quintet.
Rachmaninoff: Serenade, Op 3, No 5 (2:55); Romance, Op 6, No 1 (4:44); Hungarian Dance, Op 6, No 2 (5:11)
Annelle Gregory, violin; Alexander Sinchuk, piano
This disc presents all of Rachmaninoff’s compositions for violin and piano, as well as transcriptions by violin legends including Fritz Kreisler and Jascha Heifetz. Annelle Gregory is the first prize winner and the audience choice award of the 2017 National Sphinx Competition. Alexander Sinchuk won First Prize at the Rachmaninoff International Competition (Moscow).
Bach: St John’s Passion, BWV 245: Excerpts
Apollo Singers, Apollo’s Fire / Jeannette Sorrell
This recording of Bach’s St John Passion, is the result of Jeannette Sorrell’s visionary concept of a dramatic production which was presented in seven acclaimed performances in March 2016. Leading her Cleveland-based Baroque orchestra Apollo’s Fire, the Apollo Singers and a stellar cast of soloists, Sorrell’s vision brings immediacy and clarity to Bach’s dramatic setting of the Passion story.
Vaughan Williams: Symphony No 9 in E minor (33:33)
Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra / Sir Andrew Davis
The projected cycle of Vaughan Williams’ complete symphonies started by the late Richard Hickox has left a precious heritage in the discography of the composer. Now, conducting the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra, another great authority in British repertoire, Sir Andrew Davis, takes on the challenge of completing the series with idiomatic interpretations of two masterpieces: the final Symphony (No 9) and the ballet Job.