Mac Domhnaill: Mo Ghille Mear (4:04)
Whelan: Sun and Moon and Stars (5:42)
Choral Scholars of University College, Dublin / Desmond Earley
The Choral Scholars of University College Dublin are Ireland’s leading collegiate choral ensemble. With a large repertoire stretching from the medieval to the contemporary in style, the choir gives many concerts both in Ireland and abroad. For their first recording on Signum Classics, they perform an enchanting collection of traditional and Celtic-inspired choral music, led by their director Desmond Early.
Brahms: Piano Trio No 2 in C major, Op 87 (29:58)
David Perry, violin; Uri Vardi, cello; Paulina Zamora, piano
In a sense, all three of Johannes Brahms’ piano trios can be considered among his late-period chamber works. While the Trio No 1 in B Major is a work from the composer’s early years (1854), he revised it extensively in 1890 – and it is this reworked version that we usually hear in concert and on record. The second and third trios date respectively from 1882 and 1886. In this recording, Delos adds to its critically acclaimed series of Brahms’ finest chamber works.
Van der Roost: Spartacus (13:12)
Philharmonic Winds Osakan / Jan Van der Roost
The prolific and internationally admired composer Jan Van der Roost is represented here by three compositions that are very different in style and inspiration. His tone poem Spartacus is an homage to Respighi, whose sense of color and imagination have long fascinated Van der Roost. The expressive Poème Montagnard depicts the natural scenery of Italy’s Aosta Valley, and the Sinfonietta ‘Suito Sketches’ consists of four contrasting movements exploring the qualities and virtuosic possibilities of the modern wind orchestra.
New Release of the Week
Schumann: Introduction and Allegro appassionato, Op 92 (14:31)
Jan Lisiecki, piano; Santa Cecilia National Academy Orchestra / Antonio Pappano
Jan Lisiecki turns to the music of Robert Schumann for his third Deutsche Grammophon album. The 20-year-old Canadian pianist presents strikingly mature and imaginative interpretations of the composer’s complete works for piano and orchestra: the famous Piano Concerto in A minor, Introduction and Allegro appassionato, Op 92, and Introduction and Allegro, Op 134.
Dvořák: From the Bohemian Forest, Op 68: On the Watch (3:28); Silent Woods (6:34); In Troubled Times (4:22)
Artur Pizarro & Rinaldo Zhok, piano
Few composers have written or transcribed so much music for piano four hands as Antonín Dvořák. Artur Pizarro and Rinaldo Zhok explore that literature with performances of the cycle From the Bohemian Forest and Dvořák’s own arrangement of his famous Dumky Trio. The artists say, “Apart from the technical and ensemble difficulties, his music for piano four hands has an extremely noble and sensitive musicality.”
Purcell: Twelve Sonatas of Three Parts: Sonata No 6 in C major (7:45)
The King’s Consort
Purcell’s inventive Twelve Sonatas of Three Parts from 1683 combine French elegance, Italian vigor and English melancholy with harmonic daring and extraordinary contrapuntal technique. The King’s Consort have championed the music of Purcell for three decades, creating 25 recordings, including three major recording series, which have won numerous international awards and played a central role in restoring the composer’s music to prominence.
Bach: Mass in B minor, BWV 232: Kyrie (17:36)
Soloists; Monteverdi Choir & English Baroque Soloists / Sir John Eliot Gardiner
The Monteverdi Choir and English Baroque Soloists are renowned for their performances of Bach’s epic masterpiece, which they have toured extensively. During their last tour, they performed every night in full houses to spellbound audiences. This album is the culmination of the tour: it was recorded in an open session in London and captures the special atmosphere of the concerts. It is presented in a 2-CD casebook and contains enlightening notes by Sir John Eliot Gardiner.
Haydn: String Quartet in E-flat major, Op 33 No 2, The Joke (16:19)
Each piece on ‘Serious Business’ looks at humor in music from a different angle. The album includes the world premiere recordings of three works written for the Spektral Quartet, plus Haydn’s quartet nicknamed The Joke. Humor has been a central part of the Spektral Quartet’s approach to performance from the beginning. Cellist Russell Rolen says, “If we can bring some levity, connect with you, show you that we’re human and that we’re fallible, all of that really can make people open up and be receptive.”
Prokofiev: Symphony No 7 in C-sharp minor, Op 131 (32:33)
Mariinsky Orchestra / Valery Gergiev
This major release launches the Mariinsky label’s project to honor the 125th anniversary of Prokofiev’s birth. A long-time champion of the music of Prokofiev, Valery Gergiev conducts Symphonies Nos 4, 6 & 7, performed masterfully by the Mariinsky Orchestra and coupled with Piano Concertos Nos 4 and 5. The soloists are Sergei Babayan and Alexei Volodin. The result is a set showcasing some of Prokofiev’s finest works written before and after the Second World War.
Tchaikovsky: Piano Concerto No 2 in G major, Op 44: I, Allegro brillante e molto vivace (21:07)
Mélodie Zhao, piano; Suisse Romande Orchestra / Michail Jurowski
Pianist Mélodie Zhao was born in 1994 in Gruyère, Switzerland. She studied at the Geneva Conservatory and has performed regularly with orchestras throughout Europe and at festivals. For Claves Records, Zhao has recorded music of Chopin, Liszt and Beethoven. She adds to her discography with this new album of Tchaikovsky’s First and Second Piano Concertos.