The best new classical albums this week (February 10, 2023)
Friday, February 10, 2023
New accounts of Beethoven's Piano Concertos Nos 3 and 4, a Chopin recital, Bach's violin concertos and the chamber music of Pamela Harrison
Today sees the release of new albums from Boris Giltburg with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra and Vasily Petrenko, Janina Fialkowska, Arabella Steinbacher and the Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra, Anthony Romaniuk and the Gould Piano Trio. Explore them all below and listen on Apple Music.
Anthony Romaniuk's 2020 album 'Bells' featured the pianist playing short works and improvising on multiple keyboard instruments, it was a release that felt as much like a playlist as an album, and Jed Distler welcomed it warmly: 'An eloquently restrained improvisation featuring a reiterated C natural pedal point in the left hand assiduously slips into Shostakovich’s C major Prelude and Fugue. It’s a perfect piece for Romaniuk to decompress from his eclectic, imaginatively programmed keyboard journey.' (Read the full review).
'Perpetuum' picks up where 'Bells' left off, featuring music by Kapsberger, Scarlatti, Purcell, Bach, Beethoven, Schubert, Schumann, Shostakovich, Stravinsky, Ravel, Satie, Ligeti, Adams and improvisations by Romaniuk, played on a Fazioli concert piano, a Graf fortepiano from 1835, a Flemish muselar, a seventeenth-century harpsichord, a Yamaha CP80 electro-acoustic piano and a Prophet Rev2 synthesizer.
This album features eight world premiere recordings of works by Pamela Harrison (1915-1990), a composer – as the booklet states – 'whose star shone brightly in the aftermath of the second world war but who subsequently faded into obscurity as the establishment turned towards the European avant-garde'.
The image on the cover of the album is Downland Sea, a painting by Harrison. This is the third album by the Gould Piano Trio for Resonus, following well-received accounts of trios by Schubert (volume 1 in a projected survey) and an album of trios by Rebecca Clarke, Charles Ives and Amy Beach.
The juxtaposition of works by Arvo Pärt (Fratres and Spiegel im Spiegel) with Bach's Violin Concertos Nos 1 and 2, and the Concerto for Two Violins in D minor, makes this album a natural successor to Arabella Steinbacher's 2020 album which paired music by Vivaldi (The Four Seasons) and Piazzolla (4 Estaciones Porteñas).
The two previous recordings in this survey of Beethoven's piano concertos from Boris Giltburg with Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra and Vasily Petrenko have received a markedly mixed response from Gramophone's reviewers. In his review of Piano Concertos Nos 1 and 2, Jed Distler wrote 'Boris Giltburg’s polished and cultivated pianism shines in the crystalline scales of the First Concerto’s Allegro and in how he shapes his solo in the development section (starting at 7'02") so that the phrases sweetly sing over the bar lines.' (Read the review).
Patrick Rucker, in his review of Piano Concerto No 5, was underwhelmed, saying that it featured 'one of the more foursquare, docile, even diffident readings of the solo part I’ve encountered.' (Read the review).
Today we see the release of Piano Concertos Nos 3 and 4.
The first instalment of Janina Fialkowska's Chopin Recital series for ATMA was released back in 2009 and each volume has been very well received by Gramophone's reviewers. Writing about Volume 2 (an Editor's Choice in August 2012) Bryce Morrison said, 'to an even greater extent than before, her performances blaze and challenge with a potent and highly individual sense of drama.'
Volume 4 in the series is released today, and includes the First Ballade.