The Listening Room: Episode 63 (22.03.19)

Rachmaninov’s The isle of the dead, his masterly tone poem inspired by Böcklin’s once hugely popular painting, opens this week’s playlist: a performance of glorious colour and muscularity that once again shows what a wonderful orchestrator Rachmaninov was. Other substantial works this week include Beethoven’s Second Piano Concerto, Bernard Haitink as a near-ideal partner with the LSO for Maria João Pires; Mozart’s Fourth Horn Concerto in a virtuoso and almost super-human performance by Felix Klieser; John Adams’s wonderful orchestration of four songs by Debussy, sung with great passion and intensity by Ian Bostridge and, something of a rarity, the Fifth String Quartet by Carl Reinecke, a prolific composer, the man who conducted the first performance of Brahms’s complete Ein deutsches Requiem and the teacher of a staggering line-up of great musicians including Grieg, Janácek, Albéniz, Weingartner, Svendsen and Bruch. It’s a terrific piece with an impressive grasp of writing for four stringed instruments. 

Given Reinecke’s relationship with Brahms’s music, it seems only right to include a movement from a recent recording of the German Requiem – a powerful performance under the baton of Daniel Reuss. And from another choir from the Low Countries, Liszt’s choral Vater uns sung by Collegium Vocale Gent. Solo singing finds Stéphane Degout giving us a wonderfully idiomatic and flavourful Fauré song group, sensitively partnered by Simon Lepper. And we've an aria by Cavalli with Philippe Jaroussky on fine form.

From the archive, Melodiya has unearthed a 1979 recital played by Mikhail Pletnev – I’ve included a jaw-dropping performance of Beethoven’s Op 10 No 2 Piano Sonata. What playing! 

Other treats include three miniatures for violin and piano played by Hyeyoon Park and Benjamin Grosvenor, from an imaginative collection of short pieces for the two instruments just out from NMC. And also for violin and piano (though originally conceived for harpsichord), a pre-release track from a new recording of Bach’s sonatas played by Renaud Capuçon and David Fray. Other new music includes an oboe concerto by the Australian Nigel Westlake, gorgeous solo work from Diana Doherty, and a rather blatant nod in Philip Glass’s direction by Westlake, but a fun piece none the less. Danny Elfman, best known for his film music, particularly for a slew of Tim Burton movies, has written a violin concerto, as a pre-release track Sony Classical has given us the third-movement ‘Fantasma’.  New music of a slightly grittier kind comes from David Fennessy, his Hirta Rounds

Listen on:

Spotify, Apple Music 

The tracks:

Rachmaninov The isle of the dead

London Philharmonic Orchestra / Vladimir Jurowski (LPO)

Joanna Lee Midnight Feast

Hyeyoon Park; Benjamin Grosvenor (NMC)

Cavalli La Calisto – 'Ninfa Bella'

Marie-Nicole Lemeiux; Artaserse / Philippe Jaroussky (Erato)

Beethoven Piano Concerto No 2

Maria João Pires; London Symphony Orchetsra / Bernard Haitink (LSO Live) 

Liszt Vater uns

Collegium Vocale Gent/ Reinbert de Leeuw (Alpha) 

Debussy/J Adams Le livre de Baudelaire

Ian Bostridge; Seattle Symphony Orchestra / Ludovic Morlot (Seattle SO)

Reinecke String Quartet No 5

Reinhold Quartet (CPO) NOT ON APPLE MUSIC

Beethoven Piano Sonata No 6 in F, Op 10 No 2

Mikhail Pletnev (Melodiya)

Brahms Ein deutsches Requiem – 'Denn alles Fleisch ist wie Gras'

Capella Amsterdam; Orchestra of the Eighteenth Century /  Daniel Reuss (Glossa) 

Kate Whitley Ripples

Hyeyoon Park; Benjamin Grosvenor (NMC)

Westlake Oboe Concerto, 'Spirit of the Wild'

Diana Doherty; Sydney Symphony Orchestra / Nigel Westlake (ABC)

C Matthews Ghost Story

Hyeyoon Park; Benjamin Grosvenor (NMC) 

Fauré Poeme d'un jour

Stéphane Degout; Simon Lepper (B Records) 

Mozart Horn Concerto No 4 in E flat

Felix Klieser; Camerata Salzburg (Berlin Classics)

JS Bach Sonata for violin and keyboard No 5 in F minor, BWV1018 – Allegro

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

Elfman Violin Concerto, 'Eleven Eleven' – Fantasma

Sandy Cameron; Royal Scottish National Symphony Orchestra / John Mauceri (Sony Classical) PRE-RELEASE TRACK

Fennessy Hirta Rounds

Munich Chamber Orchestra (NMC) 

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