Charpentier: La Descente d’Orphée aux Enfers: Act I Excerpts (9:49)
Ensemble Correspondances / Sébastian Daucé
Until Marc-Antoine Charpentier, the myth of Orpheus had never provided the subject matter for an opera in French. Charpentier created a story left in suspension, without a resolution, a carefree and happy ‘descent’ that consecrates Orpheus’ song and the enchanting power of music. Sébastien Daucé and his Ensemble Correspondances explore this little-known gem.
Copland, arr. Bernstein: El Salón México (10:26)
Andrew Cooperstock, piano
In anticipation of Leonard Bernstein’s centenary (1918-2018), this recording features the composer’s complete solo piano works, plus, as special bonus, the witty and charming “Bridal Suite” for piano four-hands, heard here in its first complete recording. The distinguished pianist Andrew Cooperstock is Professor of Piano at the University of Colorado Boulder.
Bartók: String Quartet No 1, Op 7: III, Allegro vivace (10:20)
The string quartet was of central importance to Bartók throughout his career. His six quartets were written (between 1907 and 1939) at crucial turning points in the composer’s creative development. They represent perhaps the biggest interpretative challenge in the genre alongside the Beethoven quartets. A challenge triumphantly met here by the Heath Quartet.
Messiaen: Trois petites liturgies de la Présence Divine: Antienne de la conversation intérieure (9:21)
Northwest Boychoir, Seattle Symphony / Ludovic Morlot
Ludovic Morlot and the Seattle Symphony present passionate performances of two rarely recorded masterpieces by Morlot’s countryman, French composer Olivier Messiaen. One work celebrates Messiaen’s love for his wife, the other his commitment to his faith. Together they make up an album of sacred and transcendent beauty, showing the two sides of one of the most influential composers of the 20th century.
Dvořák: Carnival Overture, Op 92 (9:54); Rusalka: Song to the Moon (7:08)
Renée Fleming, soprano; Vienna Philharmonic / Christoph Eschenbach
Vienna’s Summer Night Concert is an annual open-air event, which has been held since 2008 in the Baroque park of Schönbrunn palace. Central to the Vienna Philharmonic’s 2017 Summer Night Concert are German, French, Russian and Czech fairy tales, which have inspired composers from time immemorial.
Strauss: Metamorphosen (28:59)
Baltic Chamber Orchestra / Emmanuel Leducq-Barôme
Both the works on this album came about as a reaction to the horrors of war. Shostakovich’s String Quartet No 8 is one of his most powerful and deeply personal works. It was later arranged for string orchestra by Rudolf Barshai. Richard Strauss, well into his 80s when the Second World War ended, was crushed by the destruction of the great opera houses and places of learning in Germany. His Metamorphosen is a lament for the loss of the Germany he knew as a young man.
Mozart: Oboe Quartet in F major, K 370 (14:44)
Britten Oboe Quartet
The Britten Oboe Quartet makes its recording debut with a program of its core repertory. It naturally includes the great Mozart Quartet, K 370, and Britten’s own Phantasy, Op 2, but also two pieces that have a special resonance for oboist Nicholas Daniel, because they were commissioned and premiered by Janet Craxton, his ‘beloved teacher’ and inspiration, and her London Oboe Quartet.
Shostakovich: Symphony No 5 in D minor, Op 47: Finale (12:25)
Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra / Manfred Honeck
Manfred Honeck reminds us that Stalin was offended by Shostakovich’s previous works. Under threat of arrest or banishment to Siberia, Shostakovich devised a less-complex compositional style for the Fifth Symphony, still full of irony and double meaning. Barber’s Adagio is one of the most popular of all 20th century orchestral works. This release is the seventh in the highly acclaimed Pittsburgh Live! series from Reference Recordings.
Beethoven: Piano Sonata No 15 in D major, Op 28, Pastoral (25:45)
Andrew Rangell, piano
“It seems to me that Beethoven’s mainstream piano works and those we would label “outliers” have tended to become segregated, both in recital and recording. This collection hopes to say a few new things, first in the playing, of course, but also in the integrated presentation of these pieces. Each flower making its distinctive contribution to the present bouquet.” (Andrew Rangell)
Granados: Valses poéticos (16:41)
Stephen Marchionda, guitar
During his lifetime, Enrique Granados was highly valued above all for the poetry of his piano playing – and his compositions also breathe the same poetic spirit. Guitarist Stephen Marchionda honors the composer on the occasion of the 150th anniversary of his birth with a highly personal selection from these works.