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 New Release Round-up, New Release Round-Up - 18th June 2021

New Releases 18th June 2021Today's new releases include the first instalment of a lockdown Beethoven project from the Ehnes Quartet, a theatrical debut from South Korean violinist Bomsori Kim, intimations of immortality from Icelandic composer and producer Viktor Orri Árnason, and a rare outing for André Messager's 1926 opera Passionnément, starring Véronique Gens and Étienne Dupuis.

This is the first of four Beethoven recordings which the Ehnes Quartet made in the US last summer, after travel-restrictions made it impossible for them to record in the UK as planned (their UK-based producer, however, stayed on board for the project thanks to the wonders of Skype!). Read our interview with James Ehnes about the joys, challenges and technicalities involved in this unusual undertaking here.

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

Véronique Gens (Ketty Stevenson), Étienne Dupuis (Robert Perceval), Nicole Car (Julia), Eric Huchet (William Stevenson), Chantal Santon Jeffrey (Helene Le Barrois), Armando Noguera (Harris); Munchner Rundfunkorchester, Stefan Blunier

Premiered in Paris in 1926, Messager’s comédie musicale is set in Trouville and tells the story of unscrupulous American tycoon William Stevenson and his unhappy wife Ketty, a retired music-hall star who falls in love with the young Frenchman whom her husband is trying to swindle; all is resolved to everyone’s satisfaction when the previously teetotal Stevenson undergoes a champagne-fuelled epiphany in the casino and realises that his affections conveniently lie elsewhere.

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

Viktor Orri Árnason, Yair Elazar Glotman (double bass), Benedikt Kristjánsson (tenor), Budapest Art Orchestra, Karlakórinn Fóstbræður, Árni Harðarson

The Icelandic composer, conductor and producer makes his first appearance on Pentatone with this remarkable work exploring the concept of immortality, or more specifically the possibility that medical advances may one day eradicate death by natural causes. The album was produced and mixed over the course of two years at the Oranienstraße studios in Kreuzberg, Berlin, where the musical community also included Hildur Guðnadóttir, Jóhann Jóhannsson, and Dustin O’Halloran.

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

Bomsori Kim (violin), NFM Wroclaw Philharmonic, Giancarlo Guerrero

The South Korean violinist’s debut solo recording focuses on works which were originally composed for or inspired by opera and ballet, including Waxman’s Carmen Fantasie, Wieniawski’s Légende, Polonaise brilliante No. 1 and Fantaisie brillante on themes from Gounod's ‘Faust’, the 'Dance of the Blessed Spirits' from Gluck’s Orfeo ed Euridice, the 'Pas de Deux' from Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker, and the 'Méditation' from Massenet’s Thaïs.

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

Quadriga Consort, Nikolaus Newerkla

The early music ensemble are joined by soprano Sophie Eder and bass Walter Bachkönig for a programme celebrating the summer solstice, featuring Gaelic dances, English traditional ballads such as ‘The Lark in the Blue Summer Sky’, ‘Pleasant Month of May’ and ‘The Last of the Light’, and Scandinavian songs such as ‘Uti vår hage’, ‘Idas sommarvisa’, and ‘Vi elsker vort land’.

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

Marco Ambrosini (nyckelharpa), Eva-Maria Rusche (organ)

As well as the title-work (from the Lyric Pieces Op. 12), Ambrosini and Rusche’s programme includes the Norwegian Dances Op. 35, excerpts from the Lyric Pieces Opp. 38, 43, 47 and 54, the Ballade Op. 24, ‘Jeg elsker dig!’, and ‘Rosenknoppen’. Originally a violinist, Ambrosini is now one of the world’s leading virtuosos on the nyckelharpa, a traditional Swedish instrument resembling the hurdy-gurdy.

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

Hansjörg Albrecht (organ)

This second instalment of the German organist and conductor’s Bruckner series (which will conclude in 2024, to mark the bicentenary of the composer’s birth) was recorded on the organ of the Brucknerhaus Linz, Austria, and includes the world premiere of Albrecht’s own transcription of the First Symphony as well as the Three Pieces WAB 97, the March in D minor WAB 96, and Oscar Jockel’s Bruckner-Fenster II.

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

Chelsea Guo (piano/voice)

The Chinese-American pianist and soprano (who was a prizewinner at last year’s U.S. National Chopin Piano Competition) showcases her dual talents on a programme which features the 24 Preludes Op. 28, the Fantasia in F minor Op. 49, the Barcarolle in F sharp minor Op. 60, and the songs ‘Moja pieszczotka’ and ‘In mir klingt ein Lied’ (composed by Alois Melichar after Chopin’s Etude No. 3 in E major, Op. 10 No. 3). The album closes with Ninnetta’s aria ‘Di piacer mi balza il cor’ from Rossini’s La gazza ladra.

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

Isabel Bayrakdarian (soprano), Ellie Choate (harp), Ray Furuta (flute), Ruben Harutyunyan (duduk)

The Canadian-Armenian-American soprano celebrates her heritage with an anthology of songs which have been passed down through her family over the course of five generations, and which she now sings to her own children; the programme includes songs collected and notated by Gomidas Vartabed, Parsegh Ganatchian and Mihran Toumajan, with arrangements by Artur Avanesov and John Hodian.

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

Aušrinė Stundytė (Elektra), Asmik Grigorian (Chrysothemis), Tanja Ariane Baumgartner (Klytemnaestra), Michael Laurenz (Aegisth), Derek Welton (Orest); Wiener Staatsoper, Franz Welser-Möst, Krzysztof Warlikowski

Filmed at the Salzburg Festival last year (with the large space of the Felsenreitschule accommodating a socially-distanced audience), this Elektra was praised in BachTrack for Stundytė's ‘ability to sing this enormous role without ever seeming vocally overstretched’ and for Welser-Möst’s 'delicate handling of the ppp to fff range of this score’, whilst The Times applauded Grigorian’s thrillingly realised, vocally dominant and dramatically magnetic’ Chrysothemis.

Available Format: DVD Video

Aušrinė Stundytė (Elektra), Asmik Grigorian (Chrysothemis), Tanja Ariane Baumgartner (Klytemnaestra), Michael Laurenz (Aegisth), Derek Welton (Orest); Wiener Staatsoper, Franz Welser-Möst, Krzysztof Warlikowski

Picture format: 1080i / 16:9

Sound format: PCM Stereo / DTS-HD MA 5.1

Available Format: Blu-ray

This 16-CD set brings together the recordings which the American quartet made between 1949 and 1956 (many of which are new to CD), with repertoire including the complete Bartók and Schoenberg quartets, founder-member William Schuman’s String Quartet No. 4, Milhaud’s Cantate de l'enfant et de la mere and La Muse menagere, and works by Barber, Copland, Webern, Ravel, Irving Fine, and Alexei Haieff.

Available Format: 16 CDs