Nobilissima Visione; Paul Hindemith; Schwarz, Seattle Symphony, Yamamoto, McGrath; NAXOS 8572763; 1 CD
A series of powerful, largely radical works in the early 1920s saw Hindemith established as Germany’s leading young composer. In 1936 choreographer and dancer Léonide Massine asked him to collaborate on a ballet project, and Hindemith proposed scenes from the life of St. Francis of Assisi. The resulting ballet was Nobilissima Visione (The Noblest Vision). 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. For more information and the complete track listing, visit naxos.com/catalogue/item.asp?item_code=8.572763.
Music for Violin & Piano; Joseph Achron; Ludwig; d’Amato; NAXOS 8573240; 1 CD
Joseph Achron was a child prodigy as a violinist, and despite great success as a composer he considered himself a performer for most of his life. His most famous composition is the intense and dramatic Hebrew Melody, but the riches in this program range from the deeply passionate early Prelude, the spirit of dance in Les Sylphides, the various moods of the Stimmungen and the theatrical Stempenyu, speculated to be the inspiration for Marc Chagall’s famous painting of a fiddler on the roof. Achron’s remarkable music fell into obscurity, but its recent revival includes a recording of his First Violin Concerto available on Naxos 8.559408. For more information and a complete track listing, visit naxos.com/catalogue/item.asp?item_code=8.573240.
Harold en Italie; Hector Berlioz; Slatkin, Orchestre National de Lyon, Berthaud, Radivo; NAXOS 8573297; 1 CD
Drawing on the adventures of Byron’s Childe Harold and the composer’s own Italian experiences as a Prix de Rome winner, Harold en Italie was intended for the great violinist Paganini who, having initially rejected the work, later repented, giving it his highest praise. The brilliant concert overtures, Benvenuto Cellini and Le carnaval romain, are among Berlioz’s most popular works. Quickly taken up by several celebrated violinists of the time, the elegant Rêverie et Caprice is his only work for solo violin and orchestra. Leonard Slatkin’s Lyon recording of Berlioz’s Symphonie fantastique (8.572886) was described as “quite simply one of the best on disc” by MusicWeb International. For more information and a complete track listing, visit: naxos.com/catalogue/item.asp?item_code=8.573297.
Parables Oratorio; Robert Aldridge; Yunus; Zabala; Okell; Zawisa; University of Minnesota Chorus; University of Minnesota Opera Theatre Orchestra; Dancers of the St. Paul Conservatory for Performing Artists; Romey; Walsh; NAXOS DVD 2110358; 1 DVD
Robert Aldridge and Herschel Garfein are internationally renowned for their GRAMMY® award-winning opera Elmer Gantry (2007). Their follow-up collaboration, Parables (2010) is a cantata for soloists, a 200-voice choir and 80-piece orchestra. The attack on the World Trade Center in September 2001 haunts its writing but the use of passages from the Torah, New Testament and Koran seeks to bind the major faiths’ commonality, hopeful of healing and reconciliation.
For more information about the creators Robert Aldridge and Herschel Garfein, visit http://bit.ly/1jeDx9G and http://bit.ly/1jeDGtL respectively. For more information about the Grammy-winning recording Elmer Gantry, naxos.com/catalogue/item.asp?item_code=8.669032-33
Violin Concertos; Beethoven, Sibelius, Furtwängler; Berlin Philharmonic, Orchestra Sinfonica di Torino della RAI, Lucerne Festival Orchestra; Andromeda ANDRCD9122; 2 CD
Wilhelm Furtwängler (1886-1954),one of the greatest of 20th century conductors, leads four equally distinguished mid-century violinists and three eminent European orchestras in live performances of violin concertos by Beethoven (Röhn, Berlin), Mendelssohn (de Vito, Torino), Brahms (Menuhin, Lucerne) and Sibelius (Kulenkampff, Berlin). Recorded during and after WWII, these performances are newly re-mastered for this release.
Spanish Dances; Falla, Granados, Mompou; Brazilian Guitar Quartet; Delos DE 3466; 1 CD
The 2011 Latin Grammy winning Brazilian Guitar Quartet’s (BGQ) sixth Delos album pays homage to its rich and varied heritage as exemplified by the music of Spain that gave rise to Latin American music. The album’s 18 selections—mostly dances—are derived primarily from piano works by six of the best-known 20th century Spanish composers. The BGQ offer the richest sonic depth and range of any guitar quartet thanks to the use of two eight string guitars. For more information about the BGQ, visit brazilianguitarquartet.com/en.
Missa Solemnis; Beethoven; Solti, London Philharmoinc Orchestra, Donath, Soffel, Jerusalem, Sotin, Edinburgh Festival Chorus; LPO LPO-0077; 1 CD
Beethoven composed the Missa Solemnis between 1819 and 1923 in a late life burst of creativity. He felt it was one of his best works.
This 1982 BBC Proms live recording features an outstanding array of soloists including Helen Donath, Doris Stoffel, Siegfried Jerusalem and Hans Sotin. Sir Georg Solti recorded the Missa Solemnis twice in the studio, once with the Chicago Symphony in 1978 and later a live recording with the Berlin Philharmonic, both only available digitally or as part of boxed sets. For more information about this release, visit lpo.org.uk/recordings-and-gifts/search-recordings/368-cd-beethoven-missa-solemnis.html.
After Reading of Liszt; Lyapunov, Chopin, Liszt; Antonio Pompa-Baldi; TwoPianists Records TP1039305; 1 CD
On his TwoPianists debut, prizewinning Italian concert pianist Antonio Pompa-Baldi offers an enticing program of Liszt-connected works. Sergei Lyapunov’s Transcendental Etude, op. 11/12, carries the title Élégie en memoire de Franz Liszt. Chopin’s Etudes, op.10 are dedicated to Franz Liszt. The final tribute piece on this program, Après une Lecture de Liszt by the Sardinian-born composer Roberto Piana (b. 1971) was dedicated to Antonio Pompa-Baldi, and this is its debut recording.
For more information about Antonio Pompa-Baldi, visit pompa-baldi.com/biography/index.html.