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 Hi-Res Highlights, Hi-Res Highlights - April 2018

Paul LewisThis month’s Hi-Res highlights include new releases from three superb pianists (the first instalment of Paul Lewis's Haydn series, Volume Seven of Andreas Haefliger's Perspectives on Beethoven, and Ravel and Gershwin concertos from Denis Kozhukhin), Andris Nelsons's Bruckner Seven with the Leipzig Gewandhausorchester, and re-issues of Leonard Bernstein conducting concertos with Isaac Stern and André Watts.

Denis Kozhukhin (piano), Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, Kazuki Yamada

The Russian pianist (who took third prize at the Leeds International Piano Competition in 2006, and will perform the Shostakovich’s Piano Concerto No. 2 at the Proms this summer) presents three concertos with jazz elements; reviewing his Wigmore Hall performance of the solo version of Rhapsody in Blue last month, BachTrack praised the ‘heady exhilaration’ of his playing.

Available Formats: SACD, MP3, FLAC, Hi-Res FLAC

The third volume of Nelsons's acclaimed Bruckner cycle from Leipzig was one of our recent Recordings of the Week: my colleague James wrote 'While there’s no denying the might of the Leipzig brass, what elevates these performances for me is the fact that Nelsons takes equal care over the string parts...Having said that, the brass certainly don't disappoint either'.

Available Formats: CD, MP3, FLAC, Hi-Res FLAC, Hi-Res+ FLAC

NFM Wroclaw Philharmonic, Tonu Kaljuste

Composed over a 45-year period, Pärt’s four symphonies (which range from half an hour to just ten minutes in length) are presented on a single CD for the first time, in accordance with conductor Tonu Kaljuste’s conviction that they form ‘a single grand symphony…a biographical narrative’.

Available Formats: CD, MP3, FLAC, Hi-Res FLAC

Orchestre Philharmonique de Marseille, Lawrence Foster

Martinů had a special fondness for concertos for multiple instruments, and this album features two such works composed towards the end of his life; my colleague Chris selected this album as one of his favourite spring releases on his recent appearance on Radio 3's Record Review.

Available Formats: SACD, MP3, FLAC, Hi-Res FLAC

Following his award-winning surveys of Beethoven and Schubert, Lewis's Haydn project is already attracting splendid reviews: James recently observed that 'the range of colours that he draws from the piano is a constant marvel', whilst Gramophone declared 'It’s a superb fit; it’s also clear that he has absorbed the experience of working with Alfred Brendel as a young man'.

Available Formats: CD, MP3, FLAC, Hi-Res FLAC

Andreas Haefliger (piano)

It's over fifteen years since Swiss pianist began this fascinating project, which teases out connections between Beethoven's sonatas and works ranging from Haydn to Berio, and this latest instalment presents the Sonata Op. 101 with Berg's Piano Sonata, Liszt's St. François d'Assise - La prédication aux oiseaux, and Mussorgsky's Pictures at an Exhibition.

Available Formats: SACD, MP3, FLAC, Hi-Res FLAC

Eldbjørg Hemsing (violin) Wiener Symphoniker, Olari Elts

The Norwegian violinist makes her BIS debut with a lushly Romantic concerto by her compatriot, the music-critic and composer Hjalmar Borgström; premiered in 1914, the score echoes Wagner's early operas and Sibelius's concerto of a decade earlier. Look out for Katherine's interview with her next week.

Available Formats: SACD, MP3, FLAC, Hi-Res FLAC

James Ehnes (viola) BBC Symphony Orchestra, Edward Gardner

Gardner concludes his superb Walton series with the BBC Symphony Orchestra (a project which he recently told me has been 'a voyage of discovery which has led to many new musical finds for me') with the 1961 version of the early Viola Concerto and the composer's 1971 adaptation of his String Quartet in A minor.

Available Formats: SACD, MP3, FLAC, Hi-Res FLAC

New York Philharmonic Orchestra, André Watts (piano) Leonard Bernstein

Originally released on vinyl by Columbia Records as 'The Exciting Debut of André Watts', this incandescent performance of Liszt's First Piano Concerto won the then seventeen-year-old pianist a Grammy Award for Most Promising New Classical Music Artist in 1964.

Available Formats: MP3, FLAC, Hi-Res FLAC, Hi-Res+ FLAC

Wilhelm Kempff (piano)

Kempff was 75 when he recorded his austerely beautiful account of the Goldbergs, in which he controversially opted to leave the opening theme completely unadorned, eschewing even Bach's own notated ornamentation.

Available Formats: MP3, FLAC, Hi-Res FLAC

Leonard Bernstein, Leonard Raver (organ), New York Philharmonic Orchestra, Robert Casadesus (piano)

Originally released in 1978, this recording overdubs Raver's account of the solo part from the Great Organ of the Methuen Memorial Music Hall in Massachusetts with Bernstein's New York orchestra. The Fourth Piano Concerto, with Casadesus, was recorded in 1961.

Available Formats: MP3, FLAC, Hi-Res FLAC, Hi-Res+ FLAC

New York Philharmonic Orchestra, Isaac Stern (violin), Leonard Bernstein

Recorded in 1964, Gramophone observed that Stern and Bernstein's Barber 'can stand comparison with any version since, easily fluent in the two lyrical movements' whilst 'the streetwise energy [Bernstein] brings to the Hindemith goes well with Stern's bustling account of the solo part'.

Available Formats: MP3, FLAC, Hi-Res FLAC, Hi-Res+ FLAC

Hermann Prey, Julia Varady, Lucia Popp, René Kollo, Ivan Rebroff, Bernd Weikl; Bayerisches Staatsorchester, Carlos Kleiber

'There's still no recording of Die Fledermaus that, for many collectors, matches this one for the compelling freshness of its conductor's interpretation' - Gramophone Classical Music Guide on Kleiber's 1976 studio account, featuring the remarkable Ivan Rebroff (celebrated for his recordings of Russian folk music) as a falsetto Orlofsky.

Available Formats: 2 CDs, MP3, FLAC, Hi-Res FLAC