The Listening Room: Episode 11 (5.1.18)

The Listening RoomFri 5th January 2018

Each week, Gramophone’s Editor in Chief, James Jolly, introduces a special playlist of recent releases and classics from the archive, The Listening Room.

Sometimes, in an idle moment, I play a kind of enforced Desert Island Discs and wonder, if restricted to just a single work to be able to listen to forever, what I’d choose. It’s not a game that lasts very long for symphonies because my Desert Island work would have to be Beethoven’s Eroica. It’s a piece I could listen to every week and never tire of. And given the amazing variety of performances available to stream, download or buy, I’d never have to hear the same version twice. Over the Christmas break, I returned to Klemperer’s Philharmonia recording and Chailly’s Leipzig one, each with so much to reveal about this masterpiece. And for the first Listening Room of 2018, I’ve chosen Philippe Jordan’s very fine new recording of Beethoven’s Eroica with the Vienna SO as the main work; alongside it are Haydn’s Symphony No 19 from the Gramophone Award-winning Haydn series conducted by Giovanni Antonini (Alpha). Two symphonies on very different scales but both offering so many musical rewards.

From Chandos come a couple of highly appealing new recordings which include the Marimba Concerto by Richard Rodney Bennett conducted by John Wilson and songs by Elgar sung by Roderick Williams. From Odradek comes Schnittke’s Piano Quartet after Mahler, a work of extraordinary textural and timbral colours that receives a terrific new performance.

From BIS – and a far cry from the scale and ambition of Beethoven’s Eroica – I’ve included Silvius Leopold Weiss’s haunting Suite in A played by Jacob Lindberg and Janáček's setting of The Lord’s Prayer – a masterpiece of intensity from the delicate combination of harp, organ and voices – sung by the Choir of St John’s College, Cambridge (Signum). 

A few tasters from brand-new or soon-to-released albums include Bach from Isabelle Faust and Kristian Bezuidenhout (Harmonia Mundi), Franco Fagioli singing Handel (DG), Ann Hallenberg in Leo’s Catone in Utica (Pentatone) and Rossini from Marina Rebkea (BR-Klassik), plus a couple of Scarlatti sonatas from Daria van der Bercken (Sony Classical). From the archive, and to mark the centenary of the death of the prodigiously talented and tragically shortlived Lili Boulanger, her Vieille prière bouddhique conducted by Sir John Eliot Gardiner, a DG recording from 2002.

Listen on:

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The tracks:

Haydn Symphony No 19

Basel Chamber Orchestra / Giovanni Antonini (Alpha)

Janáček The Lord's Prayer (Otče Náš )

Choir of St John's College, Cambridge / Andrew Nethsingha (Signum)

Scarlatti Sonata in B flat, Kk544

Daria van der Bercken (Sony Classical)

L Boulanger Vieille prière bouddhique

Monteverdi Choir; London Symphony Orchestra / Sir John Eliot Gardiner (DG)    

RR Bennett Marimba Concerto

Colin Currie; BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra / John Wilson (Chandos)    

Elgar Song cycle, Op 59 – O Soft was the song; Was it some golden star?; Twilight

Roderick Williams; BBC Philharmonic Orchestra / Sir Andrew Davis (Chandos)    

Scarlatti Sonata in B minor, Kk87

Daria van der Bercken (Sony Classical)    

Schnittke Piano Quartet in A minor (after Mahler)

Erato Alakiozidou; Lutoslawski Quartet (Odradek)    

Beethoven Symphony No 3 in E flat, Op 55, 'Eroica'

Vienna Symphony Orchestra / Philippe Jordan (Solo Musica Wiener Symphoniker)  

Rossini La donna del lago - 'Tanti affetti'

Marina Rebeka; Munich Radio Orchestra / Marco Armiliato (BR-Klassik)

Weiss Suite in A

Jakob Lindberg (BIS)  

Handel Serse - 'Ombra mai fu'

Franco Fagioli; Il Pomo d'Oro / Zefira Valova (DG)

Bach Sonata for violin and keyboard No 4 in C minor, BWV1017 – Largo

Isabelle Faust; Kristian Bezuidenhout (Harmonia Mundi)

Leo Catone in Utica - 'Ombra cara'

Ann Hallenberg; Il Pomo d'Oro / Stefano Montanari (Pentatone)

 

 

The Listening Room

James Jolly's weekly exploration of the newest and most interesting classical releases. Available on Spotify, Apple Music and Qobuz

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