Fiddlers three: Nikolaj Znaider plays Mozart, Baiba Skride plays Eller and Nemanja Radulovic plays Khachaturian. Sheku Kanneh-Mason is In the Bleak Midwinter and Dudamel conducts The Nutcracker plus stunning pianism by Yuja Wang
A little splash of seasonal fare as we nudge towards December and the inevitable … Sheku Kanneh-Mason who, with a little help from his record company Decca, has carved out a new niche as an artist whose recordings are spearheaded by their desirability to stream, plays Gustav Holst's In the Bleak Midwinter with a lot of charm. A new recording of Johann Strauss II’s Die Fledermaus finds Lawrence Foster drawing some flavoursome playing from the NDR Radiophilharmonie - I’ve chosen the Overture to start and one the vocal gems … Gustavo Dudamel and his Los Angeles Philharmonic give us a new recording of the complete Tchaikovsky Nutcracker, neatly timed to coincide with the new Disney movie.
Nikolaj Znaider combines his stylish, elegant violin playing with his increasingly important second profession as conductor in the second volume of the complete Mozart violin concertos (Vol 2 contains Nos 1-3). The LSO put on their best Classical dancing shoes and partner him with infectious charm. Another fine violinist, Baiba Skride, joins the excellent Estonian National Symphony Orchestra – who came and played for us at this year’s Awards – for a programme of music by the Estonian Heino Eller (an important composer and teacher of, among others, Eduard Tubin, Arvo Pärt, Lepo Sumera and Jaan Rääts). This is lovely, late-Romantic stuff and well worth exploring.
From further north still, I’ve included Fields by the Icelandic composer Anna Thorvaldsdottir, a highly atmospheric piece that’s spectacularly recorded. It’s music that really envelopes you with a tight embrace and which makes a strong connection.
Some glorious Baroque and Pre-Classical fare this week - Handel sung with heart-stopping beauty by Sabine Devieilhe and Lea Desandre, a Vivaldi aria and part of Porpora’s Il verbo in carne (his Christmas Oratorio).
Taster tracks include Daniel Harding’s very fine new Mahler Fifth, a Rachmaninov prelude from Yuja Wang and a Schubert string quartet movement from the Stradivari Quartet.
J Strauss II Die Fledermaus – Overture
NDR Radiophilharmonie / Lawrence Foster (Pentatone)
Rachmaninov Prelude in G minor, Op 23 No 5
Yuja Wang (DG) PRE-RELEASE TRACK
Handel Aminta e Fillide – 'Per abbatter il rigore'
Sabine Devieilhe; Lea Desandre; Le Concert d'Astrée / Emmanuel Haïm (Erato) PRE-RELEASE TRACK
Khachaturian Violin Concerto
Nemanja Radulovic; Borusan Istanbul Philharmonic Orchestra / Sascha Goetzel (DG)
Porpora Il verbo in carne – 'Perchè si breve allora'
Roberta Invernizzi; Kammerorchester Basel / Riccardio Minasi (Sony Classical)
Schubert Quartettsatz in C minor, D103
Stradivari Quartet (Sony Classical)
Vivaldi Il giustino – 'Su l'altar di queste Nume'
Delphine Galou; Accademia Bizantina / Ottavio Dantone (Naïve)
Eller Fantasy in G minor
Baiba Skride; Estonian National Symphony Orchestra / Olari Elts (Ondine)
Holst In the Bleak Midwinter (arr. Kanneh-Mason)
Sheku Kanneh-Mason; Isata Kanneh-Mason (Decca)
Mozart Violin Concerto No 2, K211
LSO / Nikolaj Znaider (LSO Live)
Mahler Symphony No 5 – Rondo-Finale
Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra / Daniel Harding (Harmonia Mundi)
J Strauss II Die Fledermaus – Klänge der Heimat
Laura Aiken; NDR Radiophilharmonie / Lawrence Foster (Pentatone)
Tchaikovsky The Nutcracker – Overture and Act 1 Nos 1-6
Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra / Gustavo Dudamel (DG)
International Contemporary Ensemble / Steven Schick (Sono Luminis)