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New Release Round-up, New Release Round-Up - 26th January 2024

A te Puccini, Bartók,/Janáček/Szymanowski, Bertin Fausto, La DanseToday's new releases include a recital of Bartók, Janáček & Szymanowski from Piotr Anderszewski, an invitation to the dance from Martin James Bartlett, Puccini songs from Angela Gheorghiu and Vincenzo Scalera, and the world premiere recording of Louise Bertin's opera Fausto from Les Talens Lyriques and Christophe Rousset (starring Karine Deshayes in the title-role and Karina Gauvin as Margarita).

Piotr Anderszewski (piano)

The Polish pianist presents three folk-inspired works from early twentieth-century Central Europe: Janáček's On an Overgrown Path, Szymanowski's 20 Mazurkas Op. 50, and Bartók's 14 Bagatelles BB 50, Sz. 38. Anderszewski writes: 'The works on this album are imbued with a sense of rebellion. There is no place here for stylisation or decorum. These works plumb the very roots of music.' His 2004 album of piano works by Szymanowski won a Gramophone Award two years later thanks to his 'razor-sharp clarity and stylistic assurance'.

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

Martin James Bartlett (piano)

Barlett's third project for Warner Classics features Rameau's Gavotte et six doubles, Couperin's Les barricades mystérieuses, Debussy's Arabesque No. 1, and Ravel's Le Tombeau de Couperin, Pavane pour une infante défunte & La Valse; Alexandre Tharaud joins him for two waltzes from Hahn's Le ruban dénoué. The former BBC Young Musician of the Year reflects that 'Being someone who is rather awful at dancing, the only way I can explore the medium of dance is through music making!' - look out for his podcast with David over the weekend...

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

Angela Gheorghiu (soprano), Vincenzo Scalera (piano)

To mark the centenary of Puccini's death, the Romanian soprano presents a recital of his art-songs, including the world premiere recording of the recently-rediscovered 'Melanconia'; other highlights include the title-song (written when the composer was just sixteen), and 'Sole e amore', 'Mentìa l'avviso', 'Sogno d’or' and 'Morire?' (which the composer revisited in La bohème, Manon Lescaut and La rondine respectively).

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

Karine Deshayes (Fausto), Karina Gauvin (Margarita), Ante Jerkunica (Mefistofele), Nico Darmanin (Valentino), Marie Gautrot (Catarina); Les Talens Lyriques, Flemish Radio Choir, Christophe Rousset

A pupil of Reicha and a friend of Hugo and Berlioz, the French composer and poet Louise Bertin was just twenty-one when she began working on Fausto, a setting of her own Italian-language libretto. The opera was eventually staged in 1831, with the tenor Domenico Donzelli (who would create the role of Pollione in Bellini's Norma a few months later) as Fausto; this period-instrument recording presents the opera as Bertin originally intended, with the title-role taken by a mezzo.

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

Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra, Santtu-Matias Rouvali

In addition to Symphony No. 4 (premiered in Helsinki in 1911 and described as a 'psychological symphony' by the composer), this volume of the Finnish conductor's Sibelius cycle also includes the folklore-inspired tone-poem The Wood Nymph and the Valse Triste. Previous instalments in the series have been praised for the 'splendidly articulate and expressive' playing of the Swedish orchestra (Gramophone on Symphonies Nos. 3 & 5) and for Rouvali's 'seemingly unerring instinct for knowing when to let the music’s processes unfold' (BBC Music Magazine on Symphony No. 2).

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

Berliner Philharmoniker, Sir Simon Rattle, Myung-Whun Chung, Sakari Oramo

The Korean composer has enjoyed a strong relationship with the Berliner Philharmoniker since 2005; this collection of live recordings comprises her Concerto for Violin and Orchestra No. 1 (with Christian Tetzlaff), Concerto for Cello and Orchestra (with Alban Gerhardt), Le silence des Sirènes (with Barbara Hannigan), Chorós Chordón, Rocaná, and the Concerto for Piano and Orchestra (with Sunwook Kim). The set includes a film about the composer and a hardcover book with moiré-effect art by Takahiro Kurashima.

Available Format: 2 CDs + Blu-ray

Igor Levit (piano)

Levit recorded these selections from the Lieder ohne Worte in the aftermath of the Hamas attack on Israel on 7th October, and describes the process as 'my artistic reaction, as a person, as a musician, as a Jew, to what I have felt in the last few weeks and months'. He is devoting the proceeds from this recording to 'two wonderful organizations that work in my hometown here in Berlin to help people who experience anti-Semitism and to help young people avoid falling into the clutches of anti-Semitism.'

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

Patricia Kopatchinskaja (violin), Reto Bieri (clarinet), Polina Leschenko (piano)

Ten years on from Take Two, Kopatchinskaya, Bieri and Leschenko reunite for a programme of duets and trios which includes Bartók's Contrasts (composed in 1938 for Benny Goodman) and Burlesque, Poulenc's L'invitation au château, Bagatelle and Clarinet Sonata, Paul Schoenfield's Trio for Clarinet, Violin and Piano, and Serban Nichifor's Klezmer Dance.

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

Elena Urioste (violin), Tom Poster (piano)

The couple's second recital on Chandos focuses on the decade 1916 – 26, which they describe as a period 'when the world – and the artistic landscape – was changing beyond recognition'. Their programme includes Fauré's Violin Sonata No. 2, Lili Boulanger's Nocturne, Mel Bonis's Violin Sonata from 1923 (which draws on a Greek folk melody) and the sole violin sonata by Reynaldo Hahn. Poster and Urioste's Kaleidoscope Collective plans to devote an entire album to Hahn's music; the Venezuelan composer was a lover of Marcel Proust, whose 1927 novel gives this current project its title.

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

Jean Rondeau (harpsichord)), Anna Besson (flute), Myriam Rignol (viola da gamba)

Corelli's 12 Violin Sonatas Op. 5 were originally published in Rome in 1700, and the first six were 'adapted to the transverse flute with the bass' by a Parisian publisher in the late 1730s; these adaptations are interspersed here with sonatas by Jean-Baptiste Quentin (aka 'Le Jeune' to distinguish him from his violinist brother Bertin), who was a violinist at the Académie royale de musique in the early eighteenth century and drew great inspiration from Corelli's music.

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

Phantasm, Elizabeth Kenny (theorbo)

Six years on from the first instalment For Lovers of Consort Music, Phantasm and Kenny present the second half of the English baroque composer's Little Consort, paired with Suites Nos. 3, 4 and 5 from the Flat Consort for my cousin Kemble; Volume One was the ensemble's 'near miraculous transparent textures' (Gramophone), 'golden tones' (The Times), and 'airy (phantasmal?) sound' (BBC Music Magazine)

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

Florilegium, Ashley Solomon

This is the third instalment of a series exploring the 600-strong collection of historical flutes amassed by Peter Spohr, a former factory-director and amateur flautist living in Frankfurt. Nine of the instruments are showcased here in works by Mozart, Pepusch, Vivaldi, WF Bach, John Frederick Lampe, Thomas Chilcot and Locatelli; the programme also includes arrangements of Scots airs by Francesco Barsanti and Walter Clagget.

Available Formats: CD, MP3, FLAC

Seokjong Baek (Samson), Elina Garanča (Dalila), Lukasz Golinski (High Priest of Dagon), Blaise Malaba (Abimelech); Orchestra of the Royal Opera House, Antonio Pappano, Richard Jones

Filmed at Covent Garden in spring 2022, this Richard Jones production of Saint-Saëns's Old Testament opera was remarkable chiefly for the house-debut of Seokjong Baek, who had only recently transitioned from baritone to tenor and replaced an injured Nicky Spence at a month's notice: The Stage declared that 'his thrilling vocalism confirms that a new tenor star is born', whilst The Arts Desk noted that his voice was 'wielded with technical perfection from stentorian battlecries to tenderest soft singing'.

Also available on DVD.

Available Format: Blu-ray

Wiener Philharmoniker, Christian Thielemann

Thielemann made his second New Year's Day appearance in Vienna this month, conducting a programme which featured Bruckner's Quadrille WAB 121 (orchestrated by W. Dörner) in tribute to the composer's bicentenary, alongside the usual favourites by the Strauss Family, Carl Michael Ziehrer, Hans Christian Lumbye and Josef Hellmesberger.

Also available on DVD.

Available Format: Blu-ray