Mancini: Peter Gunn: Peter Gunn Theme (2:09); Dreamsville (3:48)
Harmonie Ensemble New York / Steven Richman
Steven Richman and the Harmonie Ensemble New York place their own stamp on the trendsetting score written by Henry Mancini for Peter Gunn. The classic TV detective series, which ran from 1958 to 1961, is probably best remembered today for its music, which was inspired by the West Coast Cool jazz style. Richman writes, “I grew up watching and listening to that great TV show. Everyone knows the Peter Gunn theme but far fewer seem to know there is about an hour and a half of gorgeous music recycled in various forms throughout the show’s three seasons.”
Myroslav Skoryk: Carpathian Concerto for Orchestra (16:14)
Odessa Philharmonic Orchestra / Hobart Earle
Myroslav Skoryk is one of Ukraine’s leading composers, and these live recordings were made at his 75th birthday concerts in Odessa. Both the Cello Concerto and Violin Concerto No 7 combine lyricism with explosive dynamic contrasts. With its folk rhythms, the Carpathian Concerto is one of Skoryk’s most engaging and popular works. The Melody for strings propelled him to the forefront of Ukrainian music, while his transcription of Paganini’s Caprice No 19 reveals the composer’s sense of humor.
Verdi: Giovanna d’Arco: Act 1 (26:22)
Anna Netrebko (Giovanna); Francesco Meli (Carlo VII); Plácido Domingo (Giacomo); Roberto Tagliavini (Talbot); Vienna Philharmonia Chorus; Munich Radio Orchestra / Paolo Carignani
Giovanna d’Arco was recorded live during critically acclaimed performances at the 2013 Salzburg Festival. Verdi’s take on the Joan of Arc story and its legendary heroine is regarded as one of the composer’s early masterpieces. This is the first complete recording of this significant Verdi work in Deutsche Grammophon’s history.
Hindemith: Nobilissima Visione: Excerpts (21:14)
Seattle Symphony / Gerard Schwarz
A series of powerful, largely radical works in the early 1920s saw Paul Hindemith established as Germany’s leading young composer. In 1936, he was asked by choreographer and dancer Léonide Massine to collaborate on a ballet project, and Hindemith proposed scenes from the life of St Francis of Assisi. The resulting ballet, Nobilissima Visione (The Noblest Vision), is a work of lyricism, elegy and majesty. This is the first recording of the complete ballet score, not the three-movement concert suite that Hindemith later extracted. The Five Pieces for String Orchestra is an earlier, spirited work dating from 1927.
Palestrina: Veni Creator Spiritus (7:25)
The Sixteen / Harry Christophers
Harry Christophers and The Sixteen continue their exploration of Palestrina’s great works with the fifth disc in their celebrated series. This album features a selection of music for Pentecost including Missa Iam Christus astra ascenderat. Alongside the Mass are motets from the Song of Songs, containing some of Palestrina’s most sublime and expressive works. As Christophers writes in the foreward: “There is a wealth of word painting in which to indulge. Our aim has been to be sensitive to this wonderful poetry and inject an energy and beauty to our performances.”
Jenkins: Veni Creator Spiritus (7:25)
Polyphony / Stephen Layton
This album of choral music celebrates Karl Jenkins’ 70th birthday and his 50-year career in music. A motet is a piece of sacred music for unaccompanied voices. The works on this new collection include movements taken from Jenkins’ extended works, reconceived for this format, together with several pieces that are newly composed. They are performed by Stephen Layton and Polyphony, called “the best small professional chorus in the world” by Encore Magazine.
Mussorgsky: Pictures at an Exhibition (32:07)
Kirill Gerstein, piano
Exploring the theme of images and narrative in music, Kirill Gerstein’s new album begins with Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition, a cycle composed in 1874 following the sudden death of the composer’s friend, the painter-architect Viktor Hartmann. The work is inspired by a posthumous exhibition of Hartmann’s paintings (most of which are now lost), with each movement depicting a particular piece in the gallery. This is followed by Schumann’s Carnaval, a musical representation of a masked ball. Using paintings or people as their starting points, both composers “deepened and rethought their subjects, aligning them with other aspects of their worldview,” says Gerstein.
Hermeto Pasquale: Bebê (3:44)
Marcos Valle: So Nice (4:24) with Stacey Kent, vocals
The New York Times has described the Ébènes as “a string quartet that can easily morph into a jazz band.” They continue to surprise with a new album inspired by the rhythms of Brazil. But the quartet doesn’t stop at Jobim, the father of bossa nova; they found echoes of bossa and samba where you would least expect them — resulting in their own arrangements of songs by Michael Jackson and Sting, among others. “We are always fascinated by the links between apparently unconnected pieces of music as we explore different aesthetic worlds,” cellist Raphaël Merlin explains.
New Release of the Week
Traditional: Sønderho Bridal Trilogy – Part I (5:10); Old Reinlender from Sønndala (3:06)
Danish String Quartet
The Danish String Quartet’s love of traditional Scandinavian folk music is becoming as well known as the quartet’s masterly approach to the classical repertoire. Now the renowned ensemble has released the album “Wood Works” on both CD and LP. Here the four strings present their favorite melodies from Nordic folk music – including the 400-year-old bridal music from the island of Fanø that has spread far and wide as a video with over 50,000 plays on YouTube and Vimeo.
Chopin: Piano Concerto No 1 in E minor, Op 11: I, Allegro maestoso (19:46)
Ingolf Wunder, piano; St Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra / Vladimir Ashkenazy
Live from St Petersburg’s White Nights festival, two Warsaw Chopin Competition prizewinners – Ingolf Wunder, in 2010, and Vladimir Ashkenazy, in 1955 – partner in concertos by Chopin and Tchaikovsky, with Ashkenazy conducting the St Petersburg Philharmonic. “I’ve loved this orchestra since I was a child,” says Wunder. “It was an incredible experience for me to be able to perform with them and also to make a recording here.”