George Enescu’s Octet from Vilde Frang and friends, Parry’s Fourth Symphony conducted by Rumon Gamba as well as Bach from Víkingur Ólafsson, Beethoven from Alexandre Tharaud and new music by Raymond Yiu and Judith Bingham
The centenary of Sir Hubert Parry brings a fine new recording of the Fourth Symphony (from the same company, Chandos, that has already given us an impressive version with the LPO!), but with Rumon Gamba in charge of the BBC Philharmonic, here’s an extra treat from anyone interested in British symphonic music. Vilde Frang, whose recording of violin concertos by Britten and Korngold won her a Gramophone Award a few years ago, now gives us (slightly unusually) Bartók’s First but it’s the coupling, Enescu’s Octet that particularly caught my ear. It’s a terrific piece and, done this well, makes one long to hear it live.
Alexandre Tharaud has recorded the last three Beethoven piano sonatas: I’ve selected the wonderfully reflective A flat work (No 31, Op 110), a sonata that finds him at his best. Two more pianists this week: Adam Johnson playing three pieces by the Finn Toivo Kuula (1883-1918), and Vikingur Ólafsson playing Bach – brilliantly!
From Sir Simon Rattle and his wife Magdalená Kozená, the ‘Abschied’ from Mahler’s Das Lied von der Erde – one particular joy here is the playing of the Bavarian RSO, an ensemble with a fine Mahler heritage and, thanks to Mariss Jansons’s role at their helm, are on magnificent form.
New music comes courtesy of Judith Bingham - her evocative A Walk with Ivor Gurney – and Raymond Yiu, a lovely song for countertenor and piano. Two strong musical personalities doing great things with the human voice.
Tasters this week include a Brahms Hungarian Dance from Pittsburgh under Marek Janowski, a Bach Double Keyboard Concerto played on pianos and operatic snippets by Massenet and Handel.
Brahms Hungarian Dance No 20 in E minor
Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra / Marek Janowksi (Pentatone)
Vilde Frang, Erik Schumann, Gabriel Le Magadure, Roseanne Philippens, Lawrence Power, Lily Francis, Nicolas Altstaedt, Jan-Erik Gustavsson (Warner Classics)
Handel Giulio Cesare – Va, tacito
Raffaele Pé; La Lira di Orfeo (Glossa)
JS Bach Double Piano Concerto in C minor, BWV1062 – Largo ma non tanto
David Fray; Emmanuel Christien; members of the Toulouse Capitole Orchestre (Erato)
Massenet La Navarraise – 'Mourir! Mourir par moi!'
Aleksandra Kurzak; Roberto Alagna; Opera Orchestra of New York / Alberto Veronesi (Warner Classicss)
Kuula Three Piano Pieces, Op 3b
Adam Johnson (Grand Pianoo)
Andrew Watts; Iain Burnside (NMC)
Parry Symphony No 4
BBC Philharmonic Orchestra / Rumon Gamba (Chandos)
Beethoven Piano Sonata No 31 in A flat, Op 110
Alexandre Tharaud (Erato)
Mahler Das Lied von der Erde – 'Der Abschied'
Magdalená Kozená; Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra / Sir Simon Rattle (BR-Klassik)
JS Bach Fantasia and Fugue in A minor, BWV904
Víkingur Ólafsson (DG)
Bingham A Walk with Ivor Gurney
Sarah Connolly; Tenebrae; Aurora Orchestra / Nigel Short (Signum)