Shostakovich: Symphony No 10 in E minor, Op 93: III, Allegretto (12:44); IV, Andante – Allegro (13:54)
Boston Symphony Orchestra / Andris Nelsons
The Boston Symphony Orchestra and Deutsche Grammophon have launched a new partnership that will feature a series of live recordings under the direction of BSO Music Director Andris Nelsons. The initiative begins with a project entitled ‘Shostakovich: Under Stalin’s Shadow,’ focusing on works composed during the period of Shostakovich’s difficult relationship with Stalin and the Soviet regime. The first album features the Passacaglia from the opera Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk and Symphony No 10.
Debussy: Arabesque No 1 (4:17); Estampes: Pagodes (5:55); Les soirs illuminés par l’ardeur du charbon (2:34)
Michael Lewin, piano
‘Starry Night’ is Michael Lewin’s fourth studio recording for Sono Luminus, providing the companion disc to his critically-praised ‘Beau Soir.’ A Julliard School graduate and a Steinway Artist, Lewin was a student of Leon Fleisher. Debussy is one of his favorite composers — he studied the piano music with the legendary French pianist Yvonne Lefébure, who had played it for the composer. They worked together in Debussy’s hometown of St-Germain-en-Laye, in the same Conservatoire where he had studied as a boy, during the last summers of her life.
Dvořák: Symphony No 5 in F major, Op 76 (39:42)
Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra / José Serebrier
One of the most recorded conductors of his generation, José Serebrier completes his survey of Dvořák’s symphonies, adding Nos. 1, 4 and 5 to a series of Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra performances that have been praised for their expressivity, remarkable handling of detail and supreme orchestral balance. The works are accompanied by a variety of other concert pieces, including the lively Slavonic Dances as well as the wonderfully lyrical Legends, miniature tone poems which reveal the Czech composer’s mastery of the shortest forms.
Michael Praetorius: Nigra sum sed formosa (3:24)
Hieronymus Praetorius: Tota pulchra es (6:24)
Balthasar Neumann Chorus & Ensemble / Pablo Heras-Casado
This album highlights early 17th-century works by Jacob, Hieronymus and Michael Praetorius; the latter is considered one of the most significant German composers of the era. Pablo Heras-Casado first established an interest in the repertoire as a young conductor, researching music in the Spanish National Library: “When I was nineteen, I was keen to prepare some concerts that would include Protestant music from the period before Bach, an important period in European musical history. Since then I have been fascinated by this repertory.”
New Release of the Week
Handel: Fugue in B-flat major (2:34)
Scarlatti: Sonata in D minor, K 417 (3:42)
Froberger: Canzona No 2 in G minor (5:31)
Alan Feinberg, piano
‘Fugue State’ features music of two generations of composers from the era of the High Baroque. While the composers each have unique and intriguingly personal styles, they share a compelling range of compositional techniques and musical ideas. They influenced each other in ways rarely presented in the piano world. This recording features some of the links and musical cross-pollination of these composers. And while fugues are generally not designed to surrender their secrets easily, there are many connections to be enjoyed by the avid listener.– Alan Feinberg
Mozart, arr Lachner: Piano Concerto No 21 in C major, K 467: I, Allegro maestoso (13:57)
Alon Goldstein, piano; Fine Arts Quartet; Rachel Calin, double bass
To make Mozart’s Piano Concertos K 466 and K 467 more accessible to the public, the 19th-century composer Ignaz Lachner left the piano parts untouched and made splendid transcriptions of the orchestra parts for string quartet with added bass. These chamber versions of two of Mozart’s greatest and most popular concertos sound almost as natural as if Mozart had transcribed them himself.
Bartók: Violin Concerto No 2: I, Allegro non troppo (14:51)
Augustin Hadelich, violin; Norwegian Radio Orchestra / Miguel Harth-Bedoya
Augustin Hadelich’s first major concerto recording paired the Violin Concertos of Sibelius and Thomas Adès. Universally acclaimed, it was nominated for a Gramophone Award and was one of the New York Times’ Top Classical Albums of the Year. Hadelich follows up with another provocative pairing: the ever-popular Mendelssohn and Bartók’s iconic Second Violin Concerto. The young violinist revels in the concertos’ contrasts, as well as the similarities that emerge when the works are played together.
New Release of the Week
Bach: Italian Concerto, BWV 971 (14:01)
Amadeus Guitar Duo
Bach’s Italian Concerto and monumental Chaconne (heard here in the famous Busoni transcription) form the cornerstones of this disc of Baroque favorites performed on two guitars by the Amadeus Guitar Duo. One of Vivaldi’s most famous concertos, the D major, R 93, originally written for lute, is transcribed to excellent effect. Franck’s Prélude, Fugue et Variation, a work inspired by the organ transcriptions of Bach, illustrates further how adept the Amadeus Guitar Duo is at reinventing these popular pieces for its own medium.
Palestrina: Tribularer si nescirem (8:08)
The Sixteen / Harry Christophers
The Sixteen continues its acclaimed series of discs exploring the work of Italian Renaissance master, Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina. An enormous body of sacred works, including over 100 Masses, rightly earned Palestrina the title of ‘the savior of church music.’ Central to this album is Palestrina’s L’Homme armé Mass. It is accompanied by a group of penitential and devotional motets and offertories.
Beethoven: Violin Sonata No 4 in A minor, Op 23 (20:27)
Susanna Ogata, violin; Ian Watson, fortepiano
Susanna Ogata and Ian Watson join forces to record the complete Violin Sonatas of Beethoven in four installments. The first CD features the Fourth Sonata, Op 23 in A minor, as well as the revolutionary ‘Kreutzer’ Sonata, his ninth, Op 47 in A major – a blazing landmark in violin virtuosity. Using period instruments for which the music was originally written, Watson and Ogata reveal not only the clarity of Beethoven’s extraordinary musical structure, but also an amazing palette of colors.