Concertos by Crusell and Mozart, as well as a symphony by Arvo Pärt and a piano sonata by Beethoven. Music by Jake Heggie and Morten Lauridsen and, reaching back into time, by John Jenkins, Francesco Feo and Leopold Koželuch
The last composer recorded by Sir Neville Marriner, who died in October 2016, was - appropriately - Mozart, whose music he was closely associated with throughout his career. Joined by the South Korean pianist Yeol Eum Son and the Academy of St Martin in the Fields, the work in question was the lovely Piano Concerto No 21 in C, K467 (the one that received a belated and unofficial nickname of the ‘Elvira Madigan’ after the rather depressing 1967 Swedish film). It’s a lovely performance by a group of musicians who simply understand this music so purely. My other concerto is by a composer best known to clarinettists, the Swede Bernhard Henrik Crusell - Michael Collins and the Swedish CO give what to my ears sounds like a modern classic account of a charming trio of concertos. I’ve selected No 3 for this week’s playlist.
Jonathan Biss’s fine Beethoven piano sonata series has reached Vol 7 and I’ve included the G major, Op 49 No 2, a compact two-movement work whose opus number suggests a later date of composition than is the case - with its Op 49 twin it probably comes from the 1790s. Light and untroubled, it’s a charmer and nicely done by Biss.
Music by living composers this week brings us a song-cycle by Jake Heggie, a symphony (the beautiful and poised No 4) by Arvo Pärt (in a splendid new ECM recording) and a trio of part-songs by Morten Lauridsen, perhaps the doyen of the new choral composers today.
Travelling back further in time, I’ve a couple of extracts from Baroque and Classical cantatas - San Francesco di Sales by Francesco Feo (1691-1761) and one for the Coronation of Leopold II by Leopold Koželuch (1747-1818). And from Fretwork’s latest album, I’ve a couple of pieces for viols by John Jenkins, stunningly played.
And a dip into the archive, has come up with a lovely performance of Wagner’s Siegfried Idyll conducted by André Cluytens: gentle, tender and unfurled with real elegance.
And as tasters to two forthcoming albums by very impressive pianists of the younger generation – Gershwin arranged by Percy Grainger played by Moye Chen and, from a wonderfully programmed recital by the hugely talented Sophie Pacini, Schumann arranged by Liszt.
Crusell Clarinet Concerto No 3 in B flat
Swedish CO / Michael Collins (Chandos)
Wagner Siegfried Idyll
Orchestre du théâtre national de l'opera / André Cluytens (Warner Classics)
Beethoven Piano Sonata No 2 in G, Op 49 No 2
Jonathan Biss (JB Recordings)
Heggie Newer Every Day
Lisa Delan; Marseille Philharmonic Orchestra / Lawrence Foster (Pentatone)
Jenkins Pavan in D minor
Fretwork (Signum Classics)
Pärt Symphony No 4, 'Los Angeles'
NFM Wroclaw Philharmonic / Tonu Kaljuste (ECM New Series)
Jenkins Fantasia No 7
Fretwork (Signum Classics)
Mozart Piano Concerto No 20 in C, K467
Yeol Eum Som; Academy of St Martin in the Fields / Sir Neville Marriner (Onyx)
Lauridsen Mid-Winter Songs
Santa Fe Desert Chorale / Joshua Habermann (Avie)
Gershwin/Grainger Love walked in
Moye Chen (DG)
Feo San Francesco do Sales - Part 2, 'Tutte dell'Erebo
Luca Tittoto; Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra / Fabio Biondi (Glossa)
Kozeluch Cantata for the Coronation of Leopold II – Du, des Himmels schönster Tochter'
Krystina Vilicilová; Prague Symphony Orchestra / Marek Stilec (Naxos)
Sophie Pacini (Warner Classics)