The Listening Room: Episode 60 (25.02.19)

The Listening RoomSat 23rd February 2019

Concertos by Prokofiev and Offenbach, Mozart's Symphony No 40, a Dvořák piano quartet and Richard Strauss's Sonatina No 1 from Christian Thielemann

Two terrific concerto performances this week – Vadym Kholodenko playing the Prokofiev First Piano Concerto, a piece that wonderfully illustrates the two very different sides of the composer (the sledge-hammer Third Symphony-style violence and the exquisite lyricism of the ballets), and Offenbach's Concerto militaire, a piece that never sounds like a solo cello should enter when it does! But Edgar Moreau plays it for what it's worth. 

Andrew Manze and the NDR Radiophilharmionie give a lovely performance of Mozart's Symphony No 40 - a bigger sound than is usually encountered today but wonderfully light on its feet (the Menuet is a delight) and the Dvořák Piano Quartet treat us to a gloriously idiomatic reading of the First Piano Quartet - and, given their name, they jolly well ought to! Deliciously idiomatic playing from one of the great Richard Strauss orchestras, the Staatskapelle Dresden - Christian Thielemann conducts the Sonatina No 1 for 16 wind instruments. It dates from 1943 and is couched in that lovely autumnal, langourous language that is so late-Strauss. It's played gloriously here.

Some tasty pre-release tracks this week, too: Schumann from Stella Doufexis, Mozart's famous Rondo from the Fourth Horn Concerto from Felix Klieser and some John Williams from the LAPO and Gustavo Dudamel. I'm not quite sure what to make of organist Cameron Carpenter playing Variation 18 of the Rachmaninov Paganini Rhapsody - it's either a transcription of genius or tasteless in the extreme. Currently I'm going with the former!

On the voice front, a couple of tracks of JS Bach from the countertenor Maarten Engeltjes and the wonderful Irmgard Seefried singing Schumann live in Salzburg in 1960.

And, for a great orchestra letting its hair down – John Williams's Jurassic Park main theme played by the Los Angeles PO under Gustavo Dudamel.

Listen on:

SpotifyApple Music 

The tracks:

Handel Solomon - The Arrival of the Queen of Sheba

Lucie Horsch; Academy of Ancient Music / Bojan Čičić (Decca) 

Prokofiev Piano Concerto No 1

Vadym Kholodenko; Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra / Miguel Harth-Bedoya (Harmonia Mundi)

JS Bach Ich steh mit einem Fuss in Grabe, BWV156 – 'Herr was du willt'

Maarten Engeltjes; Prjct Amsterdam (Sony Classical)

Dvořák Piano Quartet No 1

Dvořák Piano Quartet (Supraphon) 

Mozart Symphony No 40

NDR Radiophilharmonie / Andrew Manze (Pentatone)

R Strauss Sonatina No 1, 'Aus der Werkstatt eines Invaliden'

Staatskapelle Dresden / Christian Thielemann (Profil)

Mozart Fantasia in C minor, K475

Roberto Prosseda (Decca)

Offenbach Grand Concerto for cello, 'Concerto militaire'

Edgar Moreau; Les Forces Majeures (Erato)

Schumann Dichterliebe - 'Ich grolle nicht'

Stella Doufexis; Daniel Heide (DG) PRE-RELEASE TRACK

Mozart Horn Concerto No 4 in E flat – Rondo. Allegro vivace

Felix Klieser; Camerata Salzburg (Berlin Classics) PRE-RELEASE TRACK

JS Bach Freue dich, erlöste Schar, BWV30 – 'Kommt, ihr angefochtnen Sünder

Maarten Engeltjes; Prjct Amsterdam (Sony Classical)

Rachmaninov Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini – Variation 18 (arr Carpenter)

Cameron Carpenter; Konzerthausorchester Berlin / Christoph Eschenbach (Sony Classical) PRE-RELEASE TRACK

Schumann Myrthen – 'Die Lotosblume'

Irmgard Seefried; Erik Werba (Orfeo)

J Williams Jurassic Park – main theme

Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra / Gustavo Dudamel (DG)

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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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