The Listening Room: Episode 64 (29.03.19)

The Listening RoomThu 28th March 2019

A special piano-dominated playlist for Piano Day: piano concertos by Liszt and Chopin, songs by Brahms and Schubert, Shostakovich's Piano Quintet, Elgar's Violin Sonata, plus music ancient and modern from Renaud Capuçon

For Piano Day 2019 (March 29 – a date chosen perhaps to take our minds, some chance, off other events), I’ve made this week’s playlist particularly piano-rich. Alongside two Romantic piano concertos – Chopin’s Second played by the hugely impressive Canadian pianist Charles Richard-Hamelin and Liszt’s First from the Korean Jae-Hyuck Cho (Juilliard-trained and an organist as well as pianist) recorded with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra on fine form – I’ve Ellen’s songs by Schubert sung by the light-voiced Anna-Lucia Richter and a couple of Brahms songs in a historic recording from the 1965 Salzburg Festival sung with gorgeous, burnished tone by Grace Bumbry.

‘Piano plus one’ also embraces the Elgar Violin Sonata played by Thomas Albertus Irnberger, a young Austrian player whose recordings for Gramola have been attracting attention. And for the same combination of violin and piano, a pre-release track finds Renaud Capuçon venturing into Baroque territory – a Bach Sonata for Violin and Keyboard – though in the company of the pianist David Fray who has already proved himself an impressive Bach player in a host of recordings for Erato. (Capuçon also appears on a pre-release track of the violin concerto, Les horizons perdus, by Guillaume Connesson, a French composer with a very appealing musical voice; he’s currently the Composer-in-Residence with the RSNO.)

‘Piano plus four’ brings a muscular new recording of the Shostakovich Piano Quintet, a work that’s been particularly lucky on record. Elisabeth Leonskaja joins the Artemis Quartet for that. And for the piano on its own, a Schubert Impromptu played by Khatia Buniatishvili – it’s a recording that’s going to divide people enormously because of Buniatishvili’s very withdrawn approach: beautiful or unbearably droopy – take your pick …

A handful of tracks without piano – a Michael Nyman piece transcribed for the viols of Fretwork, a haunting Sephardic song played by the recorder-player Dorothee Oberlinger and a Schubert overture played by the Copenhagen PO conducted by Lawrence Foster, always a safe pair of hands and here an impressive Schubertian.  

Listen on:

Spotify, Apple Music 

The tracks:

Chopin Piano Concerto No 2

Charles Richard-Hamelin; Montreal Symphony Orchestra / Kent Nagano (Analekta)

Anonymous Sephardic Song

Dorothee Oberlinger (DHM) PRE-RELEASE TRACK

Schubert Ellens Gesänge I, II & III

Anna Lucia Richter; Gerold Huber (Pentatone)

Nyman (arr Boothby) Balancing the Books

Fretwork (Signum) 

Shostakovich Piano Quintet

Elisabeth Leonskaja; Artemis Quartet (Erato)

Brahms Von ewige Liebe

Grace Bumbry; Beaumont Glass (Orfeo)

Liszt Piano Concerto No 1

Jae-Hyuck Cho; Royal Scottish National Orchestra / Adrien Perruchon (Sony Classical) 

Schubert Overture in D, 'In the Italian Style'

Copenhagen Philharmonic Orchestra / Lawrence Foster (Pentatone)

Brahms An eine Äolsharfe 

Grace Bumbry; Beaumont Glass (Orfeo)

Elgar Violin Sonata

Thomas Albertus Irnberger; Michael Korstick (Gramola)

Connesson Les horizons perdu – IV. Shangri-La 2

Renaud Capuçon; Brussels Philharmonic Orchestra / Stéphane Denève (DG) PRE-RELEASE TRACK

Schubert Impromptu, D899 No 1

Khatia Buniatishvili (Sony Classical) 

JS Bach Sonata for Violin and Keyboard No 5 – II. Allegro

Renaud Capuçon; David Fray (Erato) PRE-RELEASE TRACK

 

 

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The Listening Room

James Jolly's weekly exploration of the newest and most interesting classical releases. Available exclusively on Apple Music, try it free for three months.

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