The Listening Room: Episode 7

James JollyFri 8th December 2017

Symphonies by Kraus and Tchaikovsky, vocal delights from Spyres, Goerne and Stutzmann, and a Schubert sonata from Lucas Debargue

Two very different symphonies this week – one Classical cracker from Joseph Martin Kraus, the other a staggeringly powerful new version on Tchaikovsky’s Pathétique from the vaunted Teodor Currentzis (and a recording that makes the hype actually seem justified – even if you have a favourite version, say Yevgeny Mravinsky's, this is definitely worth listening to).

I’ve dipped into the archive for a seldom-heard (at least in this version) chamber work by Beethoven, his Piano Quartet, Op 16 (a transcription of the Quintet for Piano and Winds). Played by a dreamteam of Isaac Stern, Jaime Laredo, Yo-Yo Ma and Emanuel Ax, you don’t miss the wind sonorities at all. A lovely record!

Vocal delights from Matthias Goerne (a glorious Tannhäuser here from his ‘Wagner Project’ with Daniel Harding on the podium), the fabulous Nathalie Stutzmann, a true contralto, here singing Handel and Legrenzi, and the ever-stylish Michael Spyres singing music that might have been written for him – French Grand Opera.

From the young French pianist, Lucas Debargue (a clear favourite of the Moscow audience at the 2016 Tchaikovsky Competition), a Schubert piano sonata, played by great taste and a gentle sense of fantasy. And I’m also remembering one of the greatest of all Italian conductors, Victor de Sabata, the 50th anniversary of whose death falls on Monday. Best known for the classic Tosca recording with Callas, di Stefano and Gobbi, I’ve chosen Kodály’s Dances of Galánta from DG’s new anniversary tribute set.

Taster of brand-new release this week are Paavo Järvi conducting transcribed Webern and a number from Nico Muhly’s evocative score for the BBC’s recent dramatization of EM Forster’s Howard’s End.

Listen on:

Spotify, Apple Music, Qobuz

The tracks:

Kraus Symphony in C minor

Basel CO / Giovanni Antonini (Alpha)

Auber Le lac des fées – 'Ils s’éloignent, je reste'

Michael Spyres; Hallé Orchestra / Carlo Rizzi (Opera Rara)

Beethoven Piano Quartet in E flat, Op 16

Isaac Stern; Jaime Laredo, Yo-Yo Ma; Emanuel Ax (Sony Classical)

Wagner Tannhäuser – Wie Todesahnung, Dämm’rung deckt die Lande

Matthias Goerne; Swedish RSO / Daniel Harding (Harmonia Mundi)

Tchaikovsky Symphony No 6, ‘Pathétique’

Musica Aeterna / Teodor Currentzis (Sony Classical)

Handel Giulio Cesare  - 'Piangerò, la sorte mia'

Orfeo 55 / Nathalie Stutzmann (Erato)

Kodály Dances of Galánta

BPO / Victor de Sabata (DG)

Schubert Piano Sonata No 14, D784

Lucas Debargue (Sony Classical)

Legrenzi Eteocle e Polinice – 'Che fiero costume'

Orfeo 55 / Nathalie Stutzmann (Erato)

Muhly Howard’s End – Bast’s Death

(Editons Milan Music)

Webern/Schwarz Langsamer Satz

Frankfurt RSO / Paavo Järvi (Naïve)

James Jolly

James Jolly is Gramophone's Editor-in-Chief. His blogs explore live and recorded music, as well as downloading and digital delivery.

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