James Jolly’s weekly programme of new releases, archive favourites and pre-release tracks including Philippe Jordan’s Beethoven, Vivaldi from Julia Lezhneva, Brahms from Claudio Arrau and rarities for piano by Blagoje Bersa and Carlos Guastavi
A couple of Big Works this week – Beethoven’s Fourth Symphony in the new cycle from the Vienna Symphony Orchestra and Philippe Jordan, fairly traditional in approach by characterised by fine musicianship and a clear vision of this great piece, and Brahms’s Third Piano Sonata in a towering performance by Claudio Arrau, soon to be the subject of one of those mega-CD boxes from Decca. I’d not heard his performance before and he’s one of the few pianists who sizes up to its sheer scope and conquers it magnificently – this is core Arrau repertoire and he’s superb.
To open the programme, a Polonaise from a Polish composer, Krzysztof Penderecki played with great verve by the Warsaw Philharmonic.
A composer I’d never heard of, let alone heard a note of, is the Croatian Blagoje/Benito Bersa (1873-1934): born in Dubrovnik he studied in Vienna with Robert Fuchs and Julius Epstein and then returned to Zagreb where he taught at the Academy there. His music is Romantic, beautifully crafted and exerts a strong power. And when it’s played with the passion that Goran Filipec brings to it, the Second Piano Sonata is a terrific discovery. The Argentinian Carlos Guastavino (1912-2000) is better known but I’m not sure I’d run across his Sonatina before. Played by Martin Klett as part of a Guastavino-Rachmaninov programme it makes a strong impression, combining a palpably Latin sensibility with a feeling for the rich Romantic piano tradition.
A symphony by Carl Friedrich Abel, in a new recording from Die Kölner Akademie takes us back into the 18th century, and from there we move further back for Vivaldi’s Nulla in mundo pax from Diego Fasolis with Julia Lezhneva on truly sparkling form.
A few taster tracks: Kyung Wha Chung in Elgar; Haydn from both Mariss Jansons and Paul Lewis; Walton from Edward Gardner; the Kyrie from Frank Martin’s Mass for Double Choir and a Massenet aria played by Christian Pierre La Marca and Lisa de la Salle – and for Apple Music and Qobuz users, a little preview of what sounds like a very fine recording of the Shostakovich Piano Quintet from the Belcea Quartet and Piotr Anderszewski.
Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra / Jacek Kaspszyck (Warner Classics)
Bersa Piano Sonata No 2
Goran Filipec (Grand Piano)
Beethoven Symphony No 4
Vienna Symphony Orchestra / Philippe Jordan (VSO)
Elgar Salut d'amour
Kyung Wha Chung; Kevin Kenner (Warner Classics)
Abel Symphonies à 4 parties, Op 1 – No 6 in G
Die Kölner Akademie / Michael Alexander Willens (CPO)
Schumann Phantasie in C, Op 131
Iskandar Widjaja; Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin / Christoph Eschenbach (Oehms)
Martin Klett (Avi-Service for music)
Vivaldi Nulla in mundo pax
Julia Lezhneva; I Barocchisti / Diego Fasolis (Decca)
Brahms Piano Sonata No 3
Claudio Arrau (Philips/Decca)
Haydn Symphony No 88 – Menuetto & Trio
Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra / Mariss Jansons (BR-Klassik)
Haydn Piano Sonata in B minor, HobXVI:32 - finale
Paul Lewis (Harmonia Mundi)
Massenet Werther – 'Pouquoi me réveiller?' (arr. cello and pf)
Christian-Pierre la Marca; Lise de la Salle (Sony Classical)
Walton Partita for Orchestra – Giga Burlesca
BBC Symphony Orchestra / Edward Gardner (Chandos)
Martin Mass for Double Choir – Kyrie
Danish National Vocal Ensemble / Marcus Creed (OUR Recordings)
Shostakovich Piano Quintet – Prelude (Lento)
Belcea Quartet; Piotr Anderszewski (Alpha) ONLY IN QOBUZ AND APPLE MUSIC