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 BBC Music Magazine Choices, BBC Music Magazine - April 2021 Choices

BBC Music Magazine April 2021A superb recital of songs by Black composers from American baritone Will Liverman and pianist Paul Sánchez occupies pride of place in this month's issue - released on Cedille last month, Dreams of a New Day features music by composers including Henry Burleigh, Margaret Bonds, Thomas Kerr and Leslie Adams as well as the first recording of Shawn E. Okpebholo's Two Black Churches, which Liverman commissioned and premiered last summer.

Neglected and rediscovered repertoire features prominently elsewhere, too, with Stewart Goodyear and the Catalyst Quartet celebrating the legacy of Afro-British composer Samuel Coleridge-Taylor (1875-1912) on this month's Chamber Choice, and Christian Immler and Helmut Deutsch's collection of unpublished songs by Hans Gál on BIS taking the palm for vocal music. (In case you missed it last month, you can read Katherine's extensive interview with Christian about the project here).

Recording of the Month

Will Liverman (baritone), Paul Sánchez (piano)

'A true passion project, Dreams of a New Day gives voice to the remarkable creative contributions of African-American composers from the twentieth century to the present day...Performed with beauty, poise and conviction, the resulting disc is a powerful tribute to a sea of talent too often neglected and sounds a call for social justice.'

Available Formats: MP3, FLAC, Hi-Res FLAC

Orchestral Choice

Minnesota Orchestra, Osmo Vänskä

'Vänskä sees to it that his ever-waxing Minnesota Orchestra is ideally engaged with the various heights and depths...Limpid and lurid woodwind playing shines out, from the ghoulish clarinets in the outer movements to the purest of flute solos in the late return to life.'

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

Concerto Choice

Hilary Hahn (violin), Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, Mikko Franck

'Hahn praises the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France as one where ‘emotion is embraced rather than exaggerated’, and the disc is an embodiment of this crucial virtue...She admits [the Prokofiev is] technically difficult, though you wouldn’t know it as her poise and silvery tone survive unscathed...The Chausson Poème is a joy from start to finish.'

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

Opera Choice

Eva Zaïcik (mezzo), Le Consort

'From her gut-punch climactic notes to the buttery evenness of her register, Zaïcik’s command is exhilarating. I love especially how she applies vibrato...Stillness is the ensemble’s collective superpower; as when, against a constant pulse, everyone unexpectedly falls silent.'

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

Choral & Song Choice

Christian Immler (baritone), Helmut Deutsch (piano)

'This is a treasure-trove of songs in the tradition of Richard Strauss, melodically radiant and full of sensitivity to atmosphere...Immler is ideally suited to them, with expansive, radiant tone and splendid diction; Helmut Deutsch sets his peerless pianism at the disposal of composer and singer.'

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

Chamber Choice

Stewart Goodyear (piano), Anthony McGill (clarinet), Catalyst Quartet

'Earliest is the 1893 Piano Quintet which reveals from the start an exceptional melodic gift. Through four colourful movements, the Catalyst Quartet and pianist Stewart Goodyear capture the combination of freshness and subtle structural command that would become a hallmark of Coleridge-Taylor’s mature work.'

Available Formats: MP3, FLAC, Hi-Res FLAC

Instrumental Choice

'For this listener at least, Anderszewski’s interpretations and juxtapositions have a compelling inevitability; but the other reason for the recording’s success lies in his pianism. Anderszewski’s flexible, responsive touch and his often slowish tempos allow a subtle suggestiveness..The whole set is beautiful from start to finish.'

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

Screen Choice

Music by Barry Gray

'The drama and peril is taken seriously with an edge of robust, cinematic brass, but those lines are coloured in with playful jazz and pop elements that scream the ’60s and today feel utterly charming...Silva’s release sounds out of this world, lovingly produced with great attention to detail.'

Available Format: CD