The Listening Room: Episode 96 (21.5.20)

Martha Argerich plays Beethoven and Yuja Wang plays John Adams, Grigory Sokolov's encores, a symphony by Beck and a Beethoven string quartet from the Ebène Quartet plus Sean Shibe's astounding Bach on the guitar

Big Names in Big Repertoire this week! Martha Argerich and Seiji Ozawa with the hand-picked and wonderfully punchy Myto Chamber Orchestra give us Beethoven's Second Piano Concerto, if anything even more impressive than their recording of No 1. And staying with Beethoven, the Ebène Quartet has released the complete string quartets, recorded during their five-continent tour – I've chosen the last of the three Razumovsky Quartets. 

Vasily Petrenko makes two appearances this week: conducting the Oslo Phil in Rimsky-Korsakov and the Royal Liverpool Phil in Elgar's Sea Pictures, with Kathryn Rudge the very fine soloist. 

Our June cover artist Sean Shibe, who gave us last year's inaugural Concept Album Award winner for 'softLOUD', now turns his attention to Bach's lute music and, played on the guitar, makes a thing of wonder from these all-too-seldom heard pieces, and throw in a terrific recording by Delphian and you've album that deserves to be played and played countless times.

Ian Page and The Mozartists have started a new series of 'Sturm und Drang' recordings – which he discusses in a video interview with me – and from Vol 1 I've chosen the quite thrilling Symphony in G minor by Beck, thrilling because it's scored for such a compact ensemble yet delivers a colossal punch.

Vey contrasting piano-playing: Grigory Sokolov playing two heart-stopping encores, and Timo Andres playing Philip Glass on an album celebrating Bob Hurwitz's long tenure at the helm of the Nonesuch label. 

Chamber music on a small scale comes courtesy of the excellent Ensemble Diderot in Leclair, while this week's most thrilling new work has to be John Adams's brand-new piano concerto, Must the devil have all the good tunes? Yuja Wang gives a quite stunning performance of the solo part while the Los Angeles PO and Gustavo Dudamel support her all the way. James Jolly

Listen below on Apple Music

Rimsky-Korsakov Russian Easter Festival Overture

Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra / Vasily Petrenko (Lawo Classics)

Beethoven Piano Concerto No 2

Martha Argerich; Myto Chamber Orchestra / Seiji Ozawa (Decca)

Elgar Sea Pictures

Kathryn Rudge; Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra / Vasily Petrenko (Onyx)

Debussy Préludes Book 1 – Des pas sur la neige

Grigory Sokolov (DG)

JS Bach Suite in E minor, BWV996 (arr Shibe)

Sean Shibe (Delphian)

Schubert Allegretto in C minor, D915

Grigory Sokolov (DG)

Beethoven String Quartet in C, Op 59 No 3, 'Razumovsky'

Ebène Quartet (Erato)

Glass Evening Song

Timo Andres (Nonesuch)

Beck Symphony in G minor

The Mozartists / Ian Page (Signum)

Leclair Trio Sonata No 6 in A, Op 4

Ensemble Diderot (Audax)

J Adams Must the devil have all the good tunes?

Yuja Wang; Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra Gustavo Dudamel (DG)



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