The Listening Room

James Jolly's weekly playlist of the best and most interesting classical recordings on Spotify, Apple Music and Qobuz

The Listening Room: Episode 36 (13.7.18)

The Listening RoomFri 13th July 2018

Tchaikovsky from MTT, Debussy from Alexander Melnikov, Beethoven arranged, a Prokofiev violin sonata and two takes on Bach's cello suites

Teodor Currentzis made quite a splash with his Sony Classical recording of Tchaikovsky's Pathétique Symphony; having been watching the votes for the Gramophone Awards come in it's clearly divided opinion. A rather more conventional, and beautifully judged, recording of the same work comes from Michael Tilson Thomas and his San Francisco Symphony Orchestra - it's quite a testament to a conductor-orchestra relationship that spans decades.

Russian music from a young artist also features this week: Alexandra Conunova - who recall from the Tchaikovsky Competition in 2015 where she tood third prize. Well, she's clearly been working hard since then and gives us an album containing the two Prokofiev violin sonatas that is striking in its originality and wonderfully personal approach: I've chosen the ghostly Second Sonata. 

The fine Cuarteto Casals have recorded Beethoven's Piano Sonata No 9 in an impressive version for string quartet - and it sounds so right in this new guise. And they play with a splendid rapport and feel for Beethoven's language.

Alexander Melnikov, a pianist who simply gets better with each release, has recorded the Second Book of Debussy's Préludes coupled with a fine arranagement of La mer. I've sprinkled a trio of préludes through this week's playlist.

Yo-Yo Ma has returned to Bach's cello suites and I've included the preview track (the famous Bourrée from Suite No 5); and by a strange coincidence Peter Gregson offers Bach's cello suites 'recomposed' - purists will be appalled, but it's a interesting, if hardly earth-shattering, response by one composer to another.

Choral music by William Mundy, recorded in Edinburgh, hits the mark as does a magnificent album of Orazio Benevolo's Missa si Deus pro nobis, conducted by Hervé Niquet, interleaved with other polyphonic works - I've extracted the Mass, a magnificent creation for multiple choirs who build and build an aural picture that's really quite overwhelming.

Another pre-release track finds Andris Nelsons and Boston Symphony playing Shostakovich's Fourth Symphony with terrific spirit. 

And Leonard Bernstein, featured on Gramophone's latest cover, tops and tails the programme in a manner that only he could.

 

Listen on:

SpotifyApple MusicQobuz

The tracks:

Bernstein Fanfare for the Inauguration of John F Kennedy

Wind Ensemble of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra / Barry Wordworth (DG)

JS Bach Cello Suite No 5 - Bourrées I & II

Yo-Yo Ma (Sony Classical)

Mundy Maria virgo sanctissima

Choir of St Mary's Cathedral, Edinburgh / Duncan Ferguson (Delphian)   

Tchaikovsky Symphony No 6, Pathétique'

San Francisco Symphony Orchestra / Michael Tilson Thomas (San Francisco Symphony)    

Debussy Préludes, Livre II - La terrasse des audiences du clair de lune. Lent

Alexander Melnikov (Harmonia Mundi)

Beethoven Piano Sonata No 9 arranged for string quartet

Cuarteto Casals (Harmonia Mundi)

Debussy Préludes, Livre II - Hommage à S. Pickwick Esq P.P.M.P.C. Grave

Alexander Melnikov (Harmonia Mundi)

Benevoli Missa si Deus pro nobis

Le Concert Spirituel / Hervé Niquet (Alpha)  

Debussy Préludes, Livre II - Feu d'artifice. Modérément animé

Alexander Melnikov (Harmonia Mundi)

Prokofiev Violin Sonata No 2

Alexandra Conunova; Michail Lifits (Aparté)

Shostakovich Symphony No 4 – Largo 

Boston Symphony Orchestra / Andris Nelsons (DG)

JS Bach/Gregson Cello Suite No 1 – Prelude

Peter Gregson (DG)

Bernstein Up! Up! Up!

Angela Brower; Katie Mahan (DG)  

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