A terrific new recording of Prokofiev’s Second Piano Concerto comes from 2009 Van Cliburn Competition winner Haochen Zhang - quite a feather in BIS’s cap as they’ve also this year's Tchaikovsky Competition winner Alexandre Kantorow on their books. And for more high-octane orchestral music, we’ve a pre-release track from a forthcoming ‘John Adams Album’ featuring Short Ride in a Fast Machine with the Montreal Symphony on top form.
Mozart’s ever-lovely Clarinet Concerto comes from Mark van de Wiel (in an imaginative coupling with the concerto by Joseph Phibbs); wonderfully elegant playing from the Principal Clarinet of the Philharmonia and London Chamber orchestras.
A slight curiosity comes from Chandos this month, Ivan Ilić playing Haydn’s Oxford Symphony in a transcription for piano by Carl David Stegman, dating from the early 19th century. Obviously in an age when access to orchestral concerts was limited, piano transcriptions were the only way to hear the great works (one thinks of Liszt’s piano versions of the Beethoven symphonies), but today we can hear Haydn symphonies in any complexion of performance practice we fancy. That said, these are very well done, played with total commitment, and offer a different slant on music that we don’t even hear often enough, even in its symphonic origin.
Talk of Haydn provides a nice link to the baryton, that viol-like instrument that was the instrument of choice of Haydn’s boss Prince Nikolaus Eszterházy. Maddalena Del Gobbo has recorded an album of baryton pieces and I’ve opted for a charming trio by Tomasini.
Music by living composers features large this week: Aaron Jay Kernis’s very catchy 100 Greatest Dance Hits, Pēteris Vasks’s haunting Lonely Angel, a number from Michael Gordon’s opera Acquanetta and Barnaby Martin’s Lazarus, a musical evocation of Christ’s most remarkable miracle when he raised Martha and Mary’s brother from the dead.
I've a reminder, too, of the artistry of Kim Borg (the centenary of whose birth falls on August 7) in Prince Gremin's aria from Eugene Onegin. And other taster tracks include a delightful Romance by Clara Schumann, a Rossini aria sung by the much talked-about South African tenor Levy Sekgapane and a movement from Tchaikovsky's Serenade for strings in Semyon Bychkov's Czech Phil Tchaikovsky survey.
Adams Short Ride in a Fast Machine
Montreal Symphony Orchestra / Kent Nagano (Decca) PRE-RELEASE TRACK
Tchaikovsky Eugene Onegin – 'Lyubvi vsye vozrasti pokorni'
Kim Borg; Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin / Horst Stein (DG)
Prokofiev Piano Concerto No 2
Haochen Zhang; Lahti Symphony Orchestra / Dima Slobodeniouk (BIS)
Tomasini Trio in C for baryton, viola and violoncello, Kor19
Maddalena Del Gobbo; Robert Bauerstatter; David Pennetzdorfer (DG)
Kernis 100 Greatest Dance Hits
Jason Vieaux; Escher Quartet (Azica)
Vasks Lonely Angel
Margaret Batjer; Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra / Jeffrey Kahane (BIS)
Haydn Symphony No 92 in G, 'Oxford' (trans CD Stegman)
Ivan Ilić (Chandos)
Mozart Clarinet Concerto
Mark van de Wiel; London Chamber Orchestra / Christopher Warren Green (Signum)
C Schumann Trois Romances Op 11 – 1. Andante
Yaara Tal (Sony Classical) PRE-RELEASE TRACK
Rossini Semiramide – 'Ah dov'è, dov'è il cimento'
Levy Sekgapane; Munich Radio Orchestra / Giacomo Sagripanti (Prima Classic) PRE-RELEASE TRACK
Tchaikovsky Serenade for strings – Valse: Moderato (Tempo di valse)
Czech Philharmonic Orchestra / Semyon Bychkov (Decca) PRE-RELEASE TRACK
M Gordon Acquanetta – 'Beautiful Monster'
Deborah Artman; Bang on a Can Opera Ensemble (Cantaloupe)
B Martin Lazarus
Berkeley Ensemble (Resonus)