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 34 (16.6.18)

The Listening RoomSat 16th June 2018

James Jolly's weekly selection includes Bach from Daniel Lozakovich, Mark-Anthony Turnage from Marc-André Hamelin and Yannick Nézet-Séguin, Bach for the lute played by Thomas Dunford, and a reprise for Jakub Józef Orlinski's Vivaldi

If there’s one kind of music that seems to be a rude health it’s choral music - the seemingly growing passion for singing as a group has encouraged a new generation to composers to write for massed voices, and the variety is astounding. A new recording from The Queen’s College, Oxford directed by Owen Rees, weaves together music from the powerful 20th-century choral tradition that includes people like Howells, Stanford and Vaughan Williams with some contemporary voices - I’ve included pieces by David Bednall and Nico Muhly in this week’s playlist. Terrific performances from this impressive Oxbridge choir.

And equally impressive is the debut recording from the 17-year-old Daniel Lozakovich who plays JS Bach’s Second Violin Concerto with a lot of style and a neat, focused sound that proves that a 'traditional', modern-instrument approach to this music still has much to offer. 

From Giovanni Antonini’s terrific and Gramophone Award-winning Haydn symphony series, I’ve dipped into the latest volume (No 6) and included Symphony No 26, an earlier Sturm und Drang work that includes a plainsong chant which gives the symphony its nickname, Lamentatione (the title of the album, too). 

Dvořák’s gorgeous Bagatelles take me back to the days when I could actually play the violin part - a new recording (which uses a piano rather than the harmonium of the original scoring) is a charmer with some delightful chamber-music playing by an ensemble whose names invoke some greats of the past - the Busch Trio and violinist Maria Milstein (though no relation to Nathan).

A work I’m really glad to have discovered is the Piano Concerto by Mark-Anthony Turnage, a work from 2013 and premiered by Marc-André Hamelin with the Rotterdam Phil and Yannick Nézet-Séguin (and the recording here is, I assume, of that first performance). It’s a highly energetic piece and Hamelin is a magnificent soloist. The central movement is an elegy to Hans Werner Henze but the composer I keep getting little hints of is Leonard Bernstein. 

Other new music here - Joby Talbot’s lovely Camille, written in an outpouring of love for his baby daughter, and the Violin Sonata by one of the most creative of today's American composers Timo Andres - it’s a restrained, intimate but gorgeously lyrical piece. 

Bach’s First Cello Suite translated to the lute by Thomas Dunford is an absolute winner while Mario Castelnuovo Tedesco’s Cello Concerto was another fine discovery, especially when played with such passion ands commitment as Brinton Averil Smith brings to it. And as a little buffer between the Talbot and some Vivaldi a lovely miniature for solo flute by Eugène Bozza.

This week witnessed the Wigmore Hall debut of the Polish countertenor Jakub Józef Orlinski, a singer positively besieged by offers from opera houses and concert promoters. It was a triumph by any standard, and he ended with what’s become his signature piece, an aria from Vivaldi’s Il Giustino. It brought the house down and I thought I’d include it again because it’s just glorious.

A pre-release track from Pablo Heras-Casado’s new Debussy recording - the second movement of La mer - ends this week’s Listening Room playlist. I hope you enjoy my selection.

Listen on:

SpotifyApple MusicQobuz

The tracks:

Bednall Ave regina coelorum

Choir of The Queen's College, Oxford / Owen Rees (Signum)

JS Bach Violin Concerto No 2 in E, BWV 1042

Daniel Lozakovich; Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra Chamber Orchestra (DG)

Dvořák Bagatelles

The Busch Trio; Maria Milstein (Alpha)   

Muhly Like as the Hart

Choir of The Queen's College, Oxford / Owen Rees (Signum)    

Haydn Symphony No 26, 'Lamentatione'

Basel Chamber Orchestra / Giovanni Antonini (Alpha)

Turnage Piano Concerto

Marc-André Hamelin; Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra / Yannick Nézet-Séguin (DG)

Bach/Dunford Cello Suite No 1 (trans lute)

Thomas Dunford (Alpha)  

Talbot Camille 

William Howard (Orchid)

Bozza Image 

Jessica Sindell (Pentatone)

Vivaldi Il Giustino – 'Vedrò con mio diletto'

Jakub Józef Orlinski; Il Pomo d'Oro (Erato)

Andres Violin Sonata

Moonkyung Lee; Martha Locker (Navona)  

Grainger Ye Banks and Braes o' Bonnie Doon 

Royal Norwegian Navy Band / Bjarte Engeset (Naxos)

Castelnuovo-Tedesco Cello Concerto

Brinton Averil Smith; Houston Symphony Orchestra /  Kazuki Yamada (Naxos)  

Debussy La mer – II. Jeux de vagues 

Philharmonia Orchestra / Pablo Heras-Casado (Harmonia Mundi)

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