Monday, June 14, 2010
Just Opened June 11, 2010
"Aram Khachaturian: Cello Concerto; Concerto-Rhapsody" - Dmitry Yablonsky, cello; Moscow City Symphony Orchestra; Maxim Fedotov, conductor. Not as well-known as his other concertos, the two works for cello and orchestra were composed by Khachaturian in the years following the Second World War. The moody Concerto premiered in 1946; after initial success both the work and the composer fell victim to the denunciation of artists by the Soviet authorities in 1948. The Concerto-Rhapsody, a more free-form work, was written for Mstislav Rostropovich in 1963. Part of a series of Khachaturian recordings for the Naxos label (Naxos 747313046379 / 8.570463)
"Chopin: Journal Intime" - Alexandre Tharaud, piano. For his Virgin Classics debut, pianist Alexandre Tharaud gives a highly personal account of the music of Chopin that has meant the most to him in his life and career - the particulars are indicated in the interview included in the CD booklet. With five Mazurkas, Ballades 1 & 2, the Fantaisie in f minor, the Fantaisie-Impromptu in c-sharp minor, Three Ecossaises, a Largo, a contredanse, and the Nocturne No. 2 in E-flat Major - a mix of favorites and some rarities. (Virgin Classics 5099968556525 / 6855652)
"Beethoven: Piano Concertos Nos. 4 and 5" - Till Fellner, piano; Orchestre symphonique de Montreal; Kent Nagano, conductor. Fellner, a student of Alfred Brendel, brings quite a bit of insight into the music of Beethoven. Currently on tour with the piano sonatas (he played this past March at the Austrian embassy in Washington; he comes back to DC in October for a recital at the National Gallery) this disc shows what he can do with the concertos 4 and 5. If you enjoyed Fellner's recent Bach releases (not to be missed!) for ECM New Series, you'll love the way he plays Beethoven. (ECM New Series 028947633150 / ECM 2114 B0013975-02)
"Arvo Part: Portrait" - Angele Dubeau & La Pieta. A follow-up to their fascinating CD featuring the music of Philip Glass, Dubeau and La Pieta present music for strings by Estonian composer Arvo Part. The central work is Tabula Rasa for two violins and string orchestra; the Cantus in Memory of Benjamin Britten; Summa, Wallfahrtslied (Pilgrim's Song) with Men's Chorus, a Mozart-Adagio, and Spiegel im Spiegel (Mirror in Mirror.) (Analekta 774204873127 / AN2 8731)
"Bach Cantatas, Vol. 13" - Monteverdi Choir; English Baroque Soloists; John Eliot Gardiner, conductor. In 2000, Gardiner celebrated the Millenium and the Bach anniversary with a pilgrimage - to perform and record all 200 Bach Cantatas in churches across Europe, for the particular feasts on the Christian calendar for which they were written - all in just one year (the recordings are being released piecemeal.) An admirable, yet daunting task considering there are more cantatas than there are Sundays or feast days in a given year. For me, the travel fatigue Gardiner mentions in the introductory notes and the lack of proper rehearsal time often shows; I've found the performance quality of these recordings uneven at best. That being said, this particular volume is one of the better ones. The first disc features the two cantatas Nun komm, der Heiden Heiland (Come now, Savior of the Gentiles) BWV 61 & 62 and Schwingt freudig euch empor (Swing joyfully aloft to the stars) BWV 36, all written for the first Sunday in Advent. Disc two contains Wachet! Betet! Betet! Wachet! (Watch! Pray!) BWV 70, Bereitet die Wege, bereitet die Bahn (Prepare the ways, prepare the paths) BWV 132, and Herz und Mund und Tat und Leben (Heart and mouth and deed and life) BWV 147 - the source of the favorite chorus, "Jesu Joy of Man's Desiring" - all written for the Fourth Sunday in Advent. (Soli Deo Gloria 843183016228 / SDG 162)
Special thanks to Naxos, EMI Classics, ECM New Series, and Crossover Media for this weeks' new recordings.
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