Quite an orchestrally rich playlist this week (and that is without including symphonies by Schubert, Schumann and Shostakovich, of which there are plenty just out). But none of it's particularly ‘core’ repertoire and so we’ve charmers like Anton Arensky’s Variations on a Theme of Tchaikovsky in a delightful performance from the Finnish Ostrobothnian Chamber Orchestra under its Artistic Director Sakari Oramo. Also from Finland, but this time from the capital, Helsinki, comes a vivid outing for Béla Bartók’s Miraculous Mandarin Suite, plenty of atmosphere and nice recorded sound. Susanna Mälkki, now in her third season as the Helsinki PO’s Chief Conductor shows her sympathies for this period of 20th-century music with very impressive results.
Down in Milan, Riccardo Chailly and the Philharmonic Orchestra of La Scala treat us to an album of Nino Rota film scores. Chailly told me recently that this is music the orchestra absolutely adores, and they certainly do it proud of this new collection.
Herbert Howells’s Cello Concerto is seldom performed so it’s splendid to have a recording on King’s College, Cambridge’s own record label. Played with passion by Guy Johnston, here’s a treat for admirers of the 20th-century cello concerto. (And, as a pre-release track, another masterly player, Matthew Barley, gives us part of Sir John Tavener’s The Protecing Veil, a work that was taken up with remarkably speed by cellists, and their record companies, after its premiere 30 years ago.)
JS Bach’s lute suites transcribed for the guitar and played by Franz Halász has proved one of the real treats of recent releases, sublime music played with wonderful colour and sensitivity and fitting the later instrument to perfection. There's earlier music from Antonio Salieri – a chunk of his thrilling opera Tarare – and Georg Christoph Wagenseil, an aria from his Siroe.
From our time, a Piano Sonata by Stewart Goodyear nods to Gershwin along the way but has a strong personality of its own, and we've the 295th Symphony by the irrepressible Leif Segerstam – this one written in memory of the conductor Ulf Söderblöm.
Wynton Marsalis played by Nicola Bendetti. Mahler’s single-movement Piano Quartet and a movement of Philip Glass’s Second Violin Concerto complete this week’s playlist. I hope you enjoy my selection! James Jolly
Arensky Variations on a Theme by Tchaikovsky
Ostrobothnian Chamber Orchestra / Sakari Oramo (BIS)
JS Bach Lute Suite in E minor, BWV996 (arr gtr)
Franz Halász (BIS)
Bartók The Miraculous Mandarin Suite
Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra / Susanna Mälkki (BIS)
Wagenseil Siroe – 'La sorte mia tiranna'
Lawrence Zazzo; Lautten Compagney / Wolfgang Katschner (Deutsche Harmonia Mundi)
Rota La dolce vita Suite
Filarmonica della Scala / Riccardo Chailly (Decca)
Mahler Piano Quartet
Skride Piano Quartet (Orfeo)
Salieri Tatare – Act 1 scenes 1 and 2
Soloists; Les Talens Lyriques / Christophe Rousset (Aparté)
Howells Cello Concerto
Guy Johnston; Britten Sinfonia / Christopher Seaman (King's College)
Goodyear Piano Sonata
Stewart Goodywar (Orchid Classics)
Segerstam Symphony No 295, 'ulFSöDErBlom in Memoriam'
Turku Philharmonic Orchestra / Leif Segerstam (Alba)
Glass Violin Concerto No 2 – second movement (arr Gelgotas)
Mari Samuelsen; Konzerthausorchester Bertlin / Jonathan Stockhammer (DG)
Tavener The Protecting Veil – IV. The Incarnation
Sinfonietta Riga / Matthew Barley (Signum Classics) PRE-RELEASE TRACK
Marsalis Fiddle Dance Suite – 4. Nicola's Strathspey
Nicola Benedetti (Decca) PRE-RELEASE TRACK