Bach: French Suite No 3 in B minor, BWV 814 (13:13)
Sergey Schepkin, piano
Renowned pianist and Bach interpreter Sergey Schepkin offers his listeners a stellar Steinway & Sons record label debut. The double-disc set includes the complete French Suites. This is Schepkin’s most recent addition to his repertoire of Bach’s keyboard works performed on a modern piano. His recordings of Bach’s six Partitas, the Goldberg Variations and The Well-Tempered Clavier received international critical acclaim.
Devienne: Flute Concerto No 4 in G major (16:38)
Patrick Gallois, f; Swedish Chamber Orchestra
François Devienne was among the most important composers of wind music in the second half of the 18th century and one of the founding teachers at the newly established Paris Conservatoire in 1795. Devienne’s First Flute Concerto was a great success at the 1782 Concert Spirituel and helped his reputation abroad. The Fourth is one of the best of his entire concerto output. All of these works combine sublime melodic elegance and graceful virtuosity, making them among the most attractive concertos of their time.
Beethoven: String Quartet No 9 in C major, Op 59 No 3, Razumovsky (31:46)
Cypress String Quartet
Following three acclaimed releases for Avie, the San Francisco-based Cypress String Quartet turns to the seminal string quartets of Beethoven, performing the five quartets from the composer’s middle period. Formed in 1996, the Cypresses added Beethoven to their repertoire early on. Their signature sound, which is clear and transparent, built up from the bottom register and layered like a pyramid, lends itself beautifully to the Middle String Quartets – the three Razumovskys, the Harp, and the Serioso.
Handel: Messiah: Part One Excerpts (17:44)
Lucy Crowe, soprano; Tim Mead, countertenor; Le Concert d’Astrée Chorus & Orchestra / Emmanuelle Haïm
Following several acclaimed albums of Handel’s operatic and choral masterpieces, French harpsichordist and conductor Emmanuelle Haïm brings her fresh, expressive approach to Messiah. Joining her is Haïm’s own choir and period-instrument orchestra, Le Concert d’Astrée, with four of the UK’s finest Handelian singers. Having begun her career as a harpsichordist, Haïm has a long history with Messiah. She is invited regularly to conduct the work in France (this album was recorded during performances at the Opéra de Lille in December 2013) and the United States.
Dvořák: Romantic Pieces, Op 75 (14:53)
Renaud Capuçon, violin; Khatia Buniatishvili, piano
It was Martha Argerich, Renaud Capuçon’s frequent duo partner and Khatia Buniatishvili’s mentor, who played musical matchmaker and brought these two performers together. Their concerts at the Lugano Festival in 2012 were such a resounding success that the friendship stuck. Together, the pair has devised a program of Romantic works for violin and piano by Franck, Grieg and Dvořák.
New Release of the Week
Rossini: La Cenerentola: Overture (8:19)
Santa Cecilia National Academy Orchestra / Antonio Pappano
Continuing their series of Rossini recordings, Antonio Pappano and the Rome-based Santa Cecilia National Academy Orchestra follow three substantial works with an array of seven operatic overtures. Pappano says, “There’s something about Rossini that gives you a sense of the ideal Italian character type – his measured elegance, his modishess, his exhibitionism. I try to get the players of the orchestra to flaunt their italianità, which means basically a singing tone and warmth.”
Vivaldi: Clarae stellae, scintillate, R 625 (10:44)
Philippe Jaroussky, countertenor; Ensemble Artaserse
Philippe Jaroussky turns once again to the poignant meditation on grief that is the Stabat Mater — this time in Vivaldi’s beautiful 1712 setting — along with a selection of the Red Priest’s solo motets and sacred works. “After several recordings dedicated to lesser-known repertoire from composers such as J.C. Bach, Caldara and Porpora, I felt not only a musical need but also a physical yearning to return to Vivaldi,” says Jaroussky.
Vivaldi, arr Lloyd Webber: Concerto in G major, R 545 (9:10)
Julian & Jiaxin Lloyd Webber, cellos; European Union Chamber Orchestra
The first arranger of Vivaldi’s concertos was Vivaldi himself, and Julian Lloyd Webber’s new versions on this recording reflect the composer’s pragmatic attitude and zest for experiment. Vivaldi’s Concerto in G minor, R 531, is his only original concerto for two cellos. Alongside this appear works both popular and recently discovered, the mercurial moods of the cellos representing instruments from mandolins to hunting horns.
Bach: (Cello) Suite No 1 in D major (originally G major), BWV 1007 (17:19)
Michael Nicolella, guitar
With a repertoire spanning from J.S. Bach and Domenico Scarlatti to Jimi Hendrix and Elliott Carter, Michael Nicolella is recognized as one of America’s most innovative guitarists. On his new recording, Nicolella performs his arrangements of the six Cello Suites by Bach. He uses Bach’s own arrangement of the fifth suite for the guitar’s ancestor, the lute, as a template for the complete cycle.
Villa-Lobos: Symphony No 10, Ameríndia: Finale (12:15)
São Paulo Symphony Orchestra & Choir / Isaac Karabtchevsky
Heitor Villa-Lobos was instrumental in developing a national Brazilian musical culture, writing in a wide variety of forms. Composed in 1954 for the 400th anniversary of the founding of São Paulo, Ameríndia is the composer’s largest symphony. Effectively a hybrid symphony and oratorio for soloists, chorus and orchestra, it is memorable for its stylistic variety and breadth, drawing on many different sources of Brazilian music.