James Jolly's weekly playlist includes music by York Bowen, Weber and Mendelssohn with taster tracks from Jan Lisiecki and Andrés Orozco-Estrada
The summer months are usually fairly quiet times for the major companies – which means that some interesting repertoire emerges from the indies. And this week is no exception. The majors are feeding us tempting morsels from their autumn releases (a Beethoven piano concerto cycle from a former Gramophone Young Artist of the Year, the enormously impressive Jan Lisiecki, Wagner preludes and overtures conducted by Andrés Orozco-Estrada and some ear-catching Liszt from the much-awarded Mariam Batsashvili) but the intriguing stuff hails from smaller companies. Discovery of the week for me was the Oboe Sonata by York Bowen. More ‘English'-sounding than a lot of his piano music, the work was written in 1927 for, no surprise given the work’s technical demands, Léon Goossens – the solo line needs to be spun without the player apparently breathing. Alex Klein, a former Principal Oboe of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, weaves magic from this lovely score.
A fine Janáček piano collection comes from the impressive Jan Bartoš (an Editor’s Choice recording in the October issue of Gramophone) and I’ve chosen the Piano Sonata 1.x.1905, that spontaneous and passionate outpouring of anger and emotion at the death of a young carpenter killed during a demonstration in support of a Czech University in Brno. More piano music from Pawel Łukaszewski, best known for his choral music and, among the taster-tracks, a movement from Max Reger’s wonderful four-hand piano arrangements of the Bach Brandenburg Concertos.
Rimsky-Korskakov’s lovely Concert Fantasia on Russian Themes is never heard in concert, at least not in the West, falling into that large group of works that’s too short to stand in for a full-length concerto. But it’s a charmer and a new Naxos recording does it proud. The same might be said of Debussy’s Première Rhapsodie – rarely encountered live but another lovely piece. Annelien van Wauwe gives an atmospheric performance.
The name Dick Kattenburg may not mean much to you, but he was a Dutch Jewish composer who was murdered at Auschwitz aged only 24. His String Trio reveals what a powerful, individual voice was so cruelly cut short – Black Oak Ensemble do him a great service alongside other ‘Silenced Voices’ on their Cedille album of that name.
New music comes from the Swedish composer Rolf Martinsson (b 1956), a pupil of Brian Ferneyhough and Sven-David Sandström among others. His Tour de force, premiered in 2013, is an impressive short work and, recorded with their typical skill by BIS, makes quite an impression.
Other gems this week include a Mendelssohn cello sonata played by Johannes Moser and Richard Beatson, Weber’s Grand duo concertante played on the flute and the same composer’s Euryanthe Overture.
Weber Euryanthe – Overture
ORF Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra / Constantin Trinks (Capriccio)
Janáček Piano Sonata No 1 in E flat minor
Jan Bartoš (Supraphon)
Rimsky-Korsakov Concert Fantasia in Russian Themes, Op 33
Annelle K Gregory; Kyiv Virtuosi Symphony Orchestra / Dmitry Yablonsky (Naxos)
Mendelssohn Cello Sonata No 1 in B flat, Op 45
Johannes Moser; Alasdair Beatson (Pentatone)
Martinsson Tour de force, Op 95
Malmö Symphony Orchestra / Paul Mägi (BIS)
Weber Grand duo concertante, Op 48
Kazunori Seo; Makoto Ueno (Naxos)
Kattenburg String Trio
Black Oak Ensemble (Cedille)
Debussy Première rhapsodie
Annelien van Wauwe; Orchestre National de Lille / Alexandre Bloch (Pentatone)
Łukaszewski Three Academic Studies
Radosław Sobczak (Dux)
Bowen Oboe Sonata
Alex Klein; Phillip Bush (Cedille)
Beethoven Piano Concerto No 4 – Rondo. Vivace
Academy of St Martin in the Fields / Jan Lisiecki (DG) PRE-RELEASE TRACK
Wagner Tristan und Isolde - Liebestod
Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra / Andrés Orozco-Estrada (RCA Red Seal) PRE-RELEASE TRACK
Liszt Six Consolations, S172 – No. 5, Andantino
Mariam Batsashvili (Warner Classics) PRE-RELEASE TRACK
Beethoven String Quartet No 13 in B flat, Op 130 – Presto
Danish Quartet (ECM New Series) PRE-RELEASE TRACK
Bach/Reger Brandenburg Concerto No 2 – Allegro
Piano Duo Takahashi Lehmann (Audite) PRE-RELEASE TRACK