Leclair: Two-Violin Sonata in A major, Op 3 No 2 (7:17)
Greg Ewer & Adam Lamotte, violins
Jean-Marie Leclair’s contribution to music history cannot be overstated. As a composer, he revolutionized the French school of violin playing, and his performance style helped to raise the standard of playing in France immeasurably. By weaving together elements of Italian and French music, he created an entirely new compositional style. His duos influenced later composers such as Mozart, de Beriot, Viotti, and closer to our own time, Bartók and Berio. Greg Ewer and Adam Lamotte have recorded Leclair’s complete sonatas for two violins on CD and in high-definition on PureAudio Blu-ray.
Paganini, arr Piccinini: Caprice in A minor, Op 1 No 24 (5:36)
Marina Piccinini, flute
Flutist Marina Piccinini relishes tradition with a twist. Having recorded Bach’s Flute Sonatas with the Brasil Guitar Duo, she astounds again with astonishing virtuosity in her own arrangements of Paganini’s notoriously difficult Op 1 Violin Caprices. Piccinini matches Paganini’s vision and independence of spirit, explaining, “I was drawn to transcribe and record all the Caprices as a challenge and stimulus for my own development. What I discovered and fell in love with was a musical voice that demanded a far greater emotional expression through technical perfection of phrasing, flexibility of embouchure, depth of sound, breath control, digital dexterity and precise articulation.”
Schumann: Papillons, Op 2 (15:02)
Jon Nakamatsu, piano
The fantastical world of Robert Schumann’s musical imagination provides the theme for this recording by pianist Jon Nakamatsu. It ranges from the tempestuous virtuosity of the Piano Sonata No 2 to the glittering masquerade depicted in Carnaval to the colorful miniatures of Papillons. Schumann’s compositions lie at the very heart of the Romantic piano repertoire. Since winning the Gold Medal at the Tenth Van Cliburn International Piano Competition, Nakamatsu has enjoyed a busy concert career and has made several highly acclaimed recordings for Harmonia Mundi.
Wolf: Gebet (2:02)
Ravel: Kaddisch (4:34)
Verdi: Ave Maria (5:03)
Magdalena Kožená, mezzo-soprano; Christian Schmitt, organ
The new recording from Magdalena Kožená features deeply-felt interpretations of sacred songs from the Baroque to the 20th Century. In a rare recording collaboration, she is joined by virtuoso Christian Schmitt, in music for voice and organ from the sacred traditions of Germany, Austria, France and England, as well as her native Czechoslovakia. The album includes music by Bach, a composer with whom Kožená has long been associated. The French tradition is heard in the music of Bizet, Ravel and the great Parisian organist Maurice Duruflé.
Sibelius: Violin Concerto in D minor, Op 47 (32:04)
Augustin Hadelich, violin; Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra / Hannu Lintu
Violinist Augustin Hadelich is one of the fastest-rising stars of his generation. With three critically acclaimed releases on Avie to his credit, he now delivers what promises to be one of the most important concerto recordings of the year, pairing the Violin Concertos by Jean Sibelius and Thomas Adès, the latter only the second recording of the composer’s work. Hadelich is superbly supported by Hannu Lintu conducting the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra.
Brahms: String Quartet No 1 in C minor, Op 51 No 1 (34:04)
Chiara String Quartet
The Chiara Quartet recorded all of Brahms’ string quartets on this album entirely from memory, without any printed sheet music. It was a tremendous task, but the Quartet feels it has brought the group to a new level of performance and cohesion. After spending countless hours working toward playing from memory, they now see sheet music as a distraction, instead of an aid – so much so that they have made the decision to perform nearly all of their repertoire from memory in concert as well.
Mozart: Piano Concerto No 25 in C major, K 503: I, Allegro maestoso (14:19)
Martha Argerich, piano; Orchestra Mozart / Claudio Abbado
Featuring the beloved musical partnership of Martha Argerich and the legendary late conductor Claudio Abbado, Deutsche Grammophon has released two of Mozart’s piano concertos, No 25 in C major and No 20 in D minor. Ten years since their last recording together, Argerich and Abbado recorded this newly released album live at the 2013 Lucerne Festival.
Ravel, arr Chen: La valse (13:21)
Sean Chen, piano
The years between 1900 and 1914, as historian Philipp Blom notes, were a “period of extraordinary creativity in the arts and sciences, of enormous change in society and in the very image people had of themselves.” The works by Ravel and Scriabin on this album, composed in that era, are emblematic of the creative ferment, poised between the ‘good old days’ and the rapid onslaught of modernity. Pianist Sean Chen has been hailed as a rising star with a “million-volt smile” and a “formidable set of fingers” (Dallas Morning News).
Davy: Ah, mine heart, remember thee well (4:57)
Sheppard: In manus tuas III (3:40)
The Sixteen / Harry Christophers
The Sixteen returns to its roots, revisiting the golden age of Renaissance polyphony in England. In this new program, the award-winning ensemble performs a stunning selection of works by Richard Davy, John Sheppard, and William Mundy. ‘The Voice of the Turtle Dove’ presents music drawn from two of the richest periods of English sacred music: the last decade of the 15th century when royal choral foundations such as Eton College excelled in intricate devotional music, and a half century later, when the short reign of Mary Tudor brought England back to Catholicism.
Misurell-Mitchell: Dark was the Night (11:51)
Maria Vittoria Jedlowski, guitar
Composer, flutist and vocal artist Janice Misurell-Mitchell takes a multi-faceted approach to composition. Drawing on traditional Western European classical elements, she fashions pieces that reach into the rich sources of jazz, popular, and ethnic music. Misurell-Mitchell is on the faculty of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. A member of CUBE Contemporary Chamber Ensemble, she has taught and performed around the world. “Vanishing Points” contains works for solo, duo and quartet spanning two decades.