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 Coming Soon, Sheku Kanneh-Mason's Elgar and other forthcoming highlights

Sheku Kanneh-MasonLate 2019 and early 2020 highlights include former BBC Young Musician of the Year Sheku Kanneh-Mason’s Elgar Cello Concerto with Sir Simon Rattle and the London Symphony Orchestra on Decca, a high-octane all-Russian programme from Vasily Petrenko and the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, Alexandre Tharaud’s tribute to the composers associated with the court of Versailles, and Angela Hewitt’s second recording of the Bach Partitas on Hyperion.

Sheku Kanneh-Mason (cello), London Symphony Orchestra, Sir Simon Rattle

The 20-year-old cellist’s performance of the Elgar concerto at this summer’s BBC Proms was described as ‘poised and massively confident’ (The Telegraph), and this account was recorded at Abbey Road just a few weeks earlier; the album also features new arrangements of Elgar’s Nimrod and Romance in D minor, Frank Bridge’s Spring Song and Fauré’s Élégie, plus Julius Klengel’s Hymnus for 12 Cellos. Released 10th January.

Available Format: CD

Sheku Kanneh-Mason (cello), London Symphony Orchestra, Sir Simon Rattle

Also available on LP.

Released 10th January.

Available Format: 2 Vinyl Records

Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, Vasily Petrenko

Back in 2017 when the final instalment of Petrenko’s Tchaikovsky cycle appeared on Onyx, Gramophone observed that the RLPO ‘must rank as one of the finest ‘Russian orchestras’ in the UK today’, and here they show their mettle with an all-Russian programme featuring Shchedrin’s Concerto for Orchestra ‘Naughty Limericks’, Kabalevsky’s Overture Colas Breugnon, excerpts from Khachaturian’s Spartacus, and Ravel’s orchestration of Pictures.

Available Format: CD

Minnesota Orchestra, Osmo Vänskä

This is the fifth instalment of Vänskä’s Minnesota Mahler cycle, which has included a Grammy-nominated account of the Fifth Symphony (described by BBC Music Magazine as ‘very taut, clean and just a little unusual’); Carolyn Sampson (who was praised for her 'richly nuanced and deeply affecting' account of the same work with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra and Donald Runnicles a few years ago by BachTrack) is the pure-voiced soloist in the final movement's evocation of 'The Heavenly Life'.

Available Format: SACD

Franck & Chopin: Cello Sonatas

Capuçon and Wang’s programme opens with Jules Delsart’s transcription of the Franck Violin Sonata, followed by Chopin’s Introduction and Polonaise Brillante and Cello Sonata in G minor, and rounded off by Astor Piazzólla's Le Grand Tango; the recording was made at Koerner Hall, Toronto as part of their North American tour earlier this year, during a performance which the Toronto Star praised for the ‘perfect unity’ and ‘remarkable technique’ of the duo. Released 6th December.

Available Format: CD

Stephen Hough (piano)

Hough’s accounts of the Brahms Piano Concertos with Mark Wigglesworth and Mozarteum Orchestra Salzburg back in 2014 were described as ‘brilliant, energetic and innovative’ (The Sunday Times), whilst BBC Music Magazine remarked on ‘the unusually wide range of keyboard colour which he brings to bear on Brahms's piano-writing’; five years on, he turns to the Fantasies, Intermezzi and Klavierstücke Opp. 116-119.

Available Format: CD

Peter Donohoe (piano)

Donohoe won a Gramophone Award in 1988 for his recording of the Tchaikovsky Piano Concertos, but reflects that ‘it is inexplicable to me that Tchaikovsky’s solo piano music should remain so infrequently performed’ – he plays his part in redressing the oversight here with a programme which centres on the large-scale G major Sonata and also includes the Six Pieces on One Theme, Scherzo à la russe, the Rustic Russian Scene, and numerous smaller pieces. Released 22nd November.

Available Format: 2 CDs

Alexandre Tharaud (piano), Sabine Devieilhe (soprano), Justin Taylor (piano)

The French pianist pays homage to composers associated with the courts of the French kings Louis XIV, XV and XVI, including music by Lully, Rameau, Charpentier and François Couperin and less familiar figures such as Pancrace Royer, Jean-Henri d’Anglebert and Claude Balbastre; soprano Sabine Devieilhe (who won a Diapason d’Or for her Rameau album Le Grand Theatre de l'Amour in 2014) joins for ‘Viens, hymen’ from Les Indes Galantes. Released 15th November.

Available Format: CD

Yuja Wang (piano), Wiener Philharmoniker, Choeur de Radio France, Franz Welser-Möst

The Wiener Philharmoniker’s commemoration of the end of the First World War took place at Versailles on 11th November last year, and included Siegfried’s Funeral March from Götterdämmerung, Mars from Holst’s The Planets, the 'Dirge for Two Veterans' from Vaughan Williams’s Dona nobis pacem, the Agnus Dei from Beethoven’s Missa solemnis, Ives’s The Unanswered Question, and Ravel’s Piano Concerto for the Left Hand, composed for Paul Wittgenstein who lost his right arm during the conflict. Released 15th November.

Available Format: CD

Angela Hewitt (piano)

Hewitt first recorded the Partitas on a Steinway in the late 1990s, winning praise from the Gramophone Classical Music Guide for the ‘rhythmic vitality, subtly varied articulation and unfailing clarity of texture’ on display in her interpretations; now partway through a ‘Bach Odyssey’ which began in September 2016, she revisits them here on her own Fazioli piano, captured in the magical acoustic of the Kulturzentrum Gustav Mahler in Toblach. Released 29th November.

Available Format: CD