Clarice Assad: Sephardic Suite: Ay sarica, bre (6:20)
Cavatina Duo; Avalon String Quartet
The Cavatina Duo’s ‘Sephardic Journey’ emerged from startling discoveries in their family history. When Spanish flutist Eugenia Moliner and Bosnian guitarist Denis Azabagic learned they each had distant roots in the Sephardic Jewish world of Old Spain, the husband-and-wife duo decided to explore their mutual heritage through music. The album comprises five world-premiere recordings of new works written expressly for them. All are based on early Sephardic melodies.
Traditional Ladino: Ah, el Novio no kere dinero! (2:09); La Rosa enflorese (4:03); La Komida la Manyana (3:17)
Apollo’s Fire / Jeannette Sorrell
The Spanish Jews in their travels absorbed the colorful musical accents of Italy and the Middle East, including exotic percussion. Apollo’s Fire takes a musical journey, interweaving Sephardic folk song with the Monteverdi-like Hebrew choral work of Salamone Rossi – the Songs of Solomon. The daily rhythms of life – love, rejection, feasting and celebration – culminate in the mystical prayers of Shabbat.
Beethoven: Symphony No 4 in B-flat major, Op 60 (34:48)
Concentus Musicus Vienna / Nikolaus Harnoncourt
For his last recording, Nikolaus Harnoncourt conducted Beethoven’s Symphonies 4 and 5 with Concentus Musicus Vienna, the orchestra that he founded in 1953. The recording is taken from two sold-out concerts at the Musikverein in Vienna. While Harnoncourt’s Beethoven cycle with the Chamber Orchestra of Europe was a milestone, he always wanted to record these works on historic instruments. For him, it was the best way to demonstrate Beethoven’s radicalism in sound.
Vivaldi: The Four Seasons: Violin Concerto in E major, R 269, Spring (9:55)
David Aaron Carpenter, viola; Salomé Chamber Orchestra
There is no shortage of recordings of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, but this one really is different. First of all, it’s played on the viola, not on the violin – by David Aaron Carpenter. Plus, Vivaldi’s concertos are programmed alongside recent works inspired by the cycle of spring, summer, autumn and winter: Four Seasons of Buenos Aires by Astor Piazzolla, and A Manhattan Four Seasons by the Ukrainian-American composer Alexey Shor.
Bach: Concerto in D minor, BWV 974 (after Marcello) (11:11)
Luc Beauséjour, piano
Luc Beauséjour is a highly sought-after musician for his virtuosity and the subtlety of his playing on the harpsichord and organ. The repertoire heard on this recording, originally written for the harpsichord during the Baroque period, is played on piano. Beauséjour selected works that appealed to him most and that he felt worked best on the piano.
Cazzati: Beatus vir (13:08)
Voces Suaves / Francesco Saverio Pedrini
Voces Suaves is a vocal ensemble from Basel which specializes in one-to-a-part performances of Renaissance and Baroque music. Their new album focuses on sacred music of Maurizio Cazzati (1616-1678), one of the earliest composers to promote and sell his music via the press. He was the most prolific printed composer of the 17th century.
Schumann: Piano Concerto in A minor, Op 54 (32:21)
Stephen Hough, piano; City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra / Andris Nelsons
This release presents two rich piano concertos played by the unparalleled Stephen Hough, accompanied by the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra. Schumann and Dvořák each wrote just one piano concerto, the latter being performed here in its challenging original version. This recording also marks the Hyperion debut of conductor Andris Nelsons.
Bartók: Violin Rhapsody No 1 (10:13)
Francesca dePasquale, violin; Meng-Chieh Liu, piano
A protégé of Itzhak Perlman and a member of an impressive musical lineage, violinist Francesca dePasquale is poised for an exceptional career. For her self-titled debut recording, she chose works that “showed a wide range of who I am as an artist, the origins of which are embedded in my musical roots.” The program includes a new composition by Paola Prestini written for dePasquale.
Mozetich: El Dorado (15:18)
Valérie Milot, harp; Les Violons du Roy / Mathieu Lussier
The title of Valérie Milot’s new album is both a nod to the circle of valued musical colleagues she has worked with over the years and a reference to the loop as a musical concept. The disc features six complementary approaches, from John Cage’s ethereal In a Landscape to Frank Zappa’s turbulent G-Spot Tornado to the premiere of Antoine Bareil’s Castille 1382, written especially for Milot.
New Release of the Week
Verdi: Rigoletto: Parmi veder le lagrime (5:30); La donna è mobile (2:23)
Saimir Pirgu, tenor; Maggio Musicale Fiorentino Orchestra / Speranza Scappucci
Albanian tenor Saimir Pirgu has been praised by Plácido Domingo for the lyrical beauty of his voice and by the New York Times for an unforced spontaneity. Pirgu has chosen music for this new recital album to showcase his affinity for Verdi roles, the verismo repertoire, and French and Italian bel canto.