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 New Release Round-up, New Release Round-Up - 22nd March 2019

New Releases 22nd MarchA great week for chamber music, with the complete Bartók quartets from Quatuor Diotima on Naïve, the second instalment of Cuarteto Casals’s Beethoven cycle on Harmonia Mundi, and Volume Two of the Carducci Quartet’s Shostakovich15 project on Signum. There are also several world premieres out today: film-composer Danny Elfman’s Violin Concerto and Piano Quartet, new versions of choral works by the Estonian composer Pēteris Vasks, and Moniuszko’s opera Halka, which appears in its Italian incarnation for the first time on record.

Iestyn Davies (countertenor), Fretwork

The title-track of this first collaboration between the British countertenor and Fretwork is taken from Nyman’s The Diary of Anne Frank, composed in 1995 for Seiya Araki’s film of the same name; the album also includes Nyman’s Music for a While (placed alongside its namesake by Purcell), and the song-cycle No Time in Eternity, which sets six poems by Robert Herrick.

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

The first volume of the Spanish quartet’s Beethoven cycle, Inventions, was described by The Sunday Times as a collection of ‘deeply considered, ripe-toned readings’ and by Gramophone as 'performances of fleet-footed conviction’; subtitled Revelations, this second instalment includes the second and third ‘Rasumovsky’ quartets, and the ‘Harp’.

Available Format: 3 CDs

The French string quartet’s live performances of Bartók’s quartets (often as part of eclectic programmes in unusual locations) over the past couple of years have prompted numerous reviewers to cross their fingers for a complete set of recordings from the group; the cycle was described as ‘impassioned, concentrated and brilliant’ by the Sunday Times last month.

Available Format: 3 CDs

The Carduccis won a Royal Philharmonic Society Award for their Shostakovich15 project back in 2016, shortly after they performed the composer’s complete string quartets over the course of a year to mark the fortieth anniversary of his death; Volume One of the cycle won praise from BBC Music Magazine for its ‘excellent ensemble, musical insight and sensitive attention to detail’.

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

Sandy Cameron (violin), Royal Scottish National Orchestra, Philharmonic Piano Quartet Berlin, John Mauceri

One of today’s most prolific television and cinema composers, Elfman is best known for his scores for films including Good Will Hunting, Men in Black, Beetlejuice and Edward Scissorhands; his Violin Concerto was premiered in 2017, and was described by The Virginia Gazette as ‘high adrenaline business, taking us on a musical roller coaster ride from the heights to the sudden-drop depth of emotions’.

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

Latvian National Symphony Orchestra, State Choir Latvija, Professional Symphonic Band Riga, Maris Sirmais

Two ‘Prayers’ feature on this quartet of choral works with orchestra by the Latvian composer: the 1978 Prayer for a Mother (originally entitled Cantata for Women), and the Prayer for Latvia from 2014/16. Also includes Missa (in its 2005 version for string orchestra) and the world premiere recording of Laudate Dominum from 2016. Look out for David’s exclusive interview with Vasks early next month.

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

Frankfurt Radio Symphony, Paavo Järvi

Following their acclaimed recordings of Hindemith’s Violin Concerto and viola works, Naïve release the Frankfurt orchestra’s live performances of Mathis der Maler, the Symphonic Metamorphosis of Themes by Carl Maria von Weber, the Five Pieces for String Orchestra, and the rarely-recorded Ragtime from 1921, based on a theme from JS Bach’s Well-Tempered Clavier.

Available Format: CD

Johannette Zomer (soprano), Stephan Genz (baritone), Orchestre des Champs-Élysées, Philippe Herreweghe

Herreweghe’s previous recording of the Fauré Requiem (released in 2007, also on Harmonia Mundi) used the scaled-down 1892 version of the score which was conceived with liturgical performance in mind; this recording was in fact made five years before that, and presents the large-scale 1901 revision which Fauré’s publisher commissioned so that the work would be more suitable for concert-halls and other large venues.

Available Format: CD

Tina Gorina, Monika Ledzion-Porczynska, Matheus Pompeu; Europa Galante, Fabio Biondi

Premiered in Vilnius in 1854, Moniuszko’s Halka was described by musicologist Carl Dahlhaus as ‘the Polish national opera’ and praised by conductor Fabio Biondi for its ‘wonderful lyricism and splendid instrumentation’; this first recording of the 1857 Italian version was made in Warsaw last summer as part of the 14th International Music Festival 'Chopin and his Europe’.

Available Format: 2 CDs