The Listening Room: Episode 83 (21.10.19)

The Listening Room
Monday, October 21, 2019

I’ve said this many times before, but we really are living in a Golden Age for fine pianism (as witnessed by last week's Gramophone Awards and superb performances by Vikingur Ólafsson, Bertrand Chamayou and Denis Kozhukhin). The big work this week is the First Piano Concerto by Rachmaninov concluding Daniil Trifonov’s cycle with the Philadelphia Orchestra. He’s such a musical pianist, as well as having been granted the full technical armoury. Another concerto cycle that’s started is a Beethoven survey from Boris Gilttburg with the RLPO and Vasily Petrenko. I’ve included the little Rondo but do check out the two main works (Concertos Nos 1 and 2) for some imaginative piano playing and typically classy accompaniments by Petrenko. (And catch Giltburg talking about the project on another Gramophone Podcast.)

Various smaller pieces this week too: a Rachmaninov prelude played by Nelson Freire (I caught up with him in Moscow in the summer and coaxed a rare interview out of him in time for his 75th birthday last week). From Alexandre Tharaud comes a lovely album, ‘Versailles’ which finds him playing a terrific programme of harpsichord works on the piano - stunningly well. Listen to him play Pancrace Royer. And another taser from a forthcoming album finds Conrad Tao playing part of Aaron Copland’s Piano Sonata, but look out for the entire album when it comes out. It’s very cleverly programmed …

Edward Gardner has just started a Brahms symphony cycle with his Bergen orchestra (he talked to me about it for a Gramophone Podcast in the summer). The Third strikes me as very fine, and Chandos has, as usual, captured the Norwegian orchestra in terrific sound.

Other delights this week include the Overture to Dame Ethel Smyth’s opera The Wreckers, a charming Vivaldi cello concerto and, a real discovery for me, a violin sonata by CPE Bach (played by covncition by Tamsin Waley-Cohen and James Baillieu). Also different, and quite wonderful, is a new Monteverdi Vespers from Simon-Pierre Bestion with some gloriously pungent singing that makes one reflect on the cultural melting-pot the Veneto must have been in the early 17th century.

Fans of the BBC's Desert Island Discs will be charmed by its theme tune, Eric Coates’s By the Sleepy Lagoon, played with such suave and idiomatic elegance as by the BBC Phil and John Wilson… and see what you think of one of Mahler’s greatest songs arranged for organ and voice …

And it’s been a while since I listened to the Szymanowski quartets - the Eliot Quartet prove fine advocates for the Second. And who’d have thought Arvo Pärt’s Spiegel im Spiegel would sound so magical played by marimba and cello … or that Vivaldi’s Four Seasons would sit so gratefully on the cello! 

Listen on Apple Music

Smyth The Wreckers – Overture

BBC Symphony Orchestra / Sakari Oramo (Chandos)

Pärt Spiegel im Spiegel (arr marimba and cello)

Christoph Sietzen; Clemens Hagen (Sony Classical)

Vivaldi Cello Concerto in A minor, RV420

Christophe Coin; L'Ombra Armonica (Naïve)

Brahms Symphony No 3 in F, Op 90

Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra / Edward Gardner (Chandos)

CPE Bach Violin Sonata in D minor, Wq72

Tamsin Waley-Cohen; James Baillieu (Signum)

Beethoven Rondo in B flat, WoO6

Boris Giltburg; Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra / Vasily Petrenko (Naxos)

Coates By the Sleepy Lagoon

BBC Philharmonic Orchestra / John Wilson (Chandos)

Monteverdi Vespers – Ave Maris Stella

La tempête / Simon-Pierre Bestion (Alpha)

Szymanowski String Quartet No 2

Eliot Quartet (Genuin)

Mahler Rückert-Lieder – Ich bin der Welt abhanden gekommen (arr voice and organ)

David John Pike; David Briggs (Analekta)

Rachmaninov Piano Concerto No 1

Daniil Trifonov; Philadelphia Orchestra / Yannick Nézet-Séguin (DG)

Dowland Flow my tears

Philippe Jaroussky; Thibaut Garcia (Erato) PRE-RELEASE TRACK

Royer Premier livre de pièces de clavecin – No 6, L'aimable

Alexandre Tharaud (Erato) PRE-RELEASE TRACK

Tchaikovsky Six Pieces, Op 51 – No 6, Valse sentimentale

Daniel Lozakovich; Stanislav Soloviev (DG) PRE-RELEASE TRACK

Rachmaninov Preludes, Op 32  No 10 in B minor

Nelson Freire (Decca)

Vivaldi Four Seasons – Spring, No 1, Allegro

Luka Sulic; Archi dell'Accademia di Santa Cecilia / Luigi Povano (Sony Classical) PRE-RELEASE TRACK

Copland Piano Sonata – II. Vivace

Conrad Tao (Warner Classics) PRE-RELEASE TRACK


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