Ponchielli: La Gioconda: Dance of the Hours (9:47)
La Scala Philharmonic / Riccardo Chailly
After almost 40 years on the Decca label, conductor Riccardo Chailly begins a new series of recordings as Music Director of La Scala in Milan. He has released a new album of “Overtures, Preludes and Intermezzi,” which celebrates three centuries of music first performed at La Scala.
Strauss: Don Juan, Op 20 (17:16)
NHK Symphony Orchestra / Paavo Järvi
This new release is the first recording of the NHK Symphony Orchestra, Tokyo, and its current chief conductor, Paavo Järvi. Starting with Ein Heldenleben and Don Juan, two of the most popular tones poems by Richard Strauss, Järvi and the orchestra embark on a three-volume Strauss cycle. These works were recorded live in Suntory Hall, Tokyo, one of the world’s most renowned concert halls.
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).