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New Release Round-up, New Release Round-Up - 23rd February 2024

Stravinsky & Falla, Bruckner 4, Handel Theodora, Gershwin RhapsodyToday's new releases include Bruckner's Symphony No. 4 from Domingo Hindoyan and the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra on Onyx, Stravinsky & Falla from Pablo Heras-Casado & the Mahler Chamber Orchestra on Harmonia Mundi, Handel's Theodora (with Louise Alder in the title-role, Tim Mead as Didymus and Anna Stéphany as Irene) from Jonathan Cohen & Arcangelo on Alpha, and a Gershwin album marking the hundredth birthday of Rhapsody in Blue from Jean-Yves Thibaudet & Michael Feinstein on Decca.

Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, Domingo Hindoyan

Following superb albums of French music, works by Roberto Sierra and orchestral excerpts from verismo operas, the Liverpool orchestra and their Chief Conductor mark the Bruckner bicentenary with this fourth project on Onyx Classics. The recording was made from a live performance at Philharmonic Hall last January, which was described by The Spectator's Richard Bratby as 'a stirring, sophisticated interpretation from an orchestra and a conductor whose partnership seems to have been fully formed from the off'.

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

Camilla Tilling (soprano), Kelley O'Connor (mezzo), Issachah Savage (tenor), Ryan McKinny (bass-baritone); National Symphony Orchestra, Kennedy Center, Gianandrea Noseda

Recorded live at the Kennedy Center between 2021 and 2023, this Washington Beethoven cycle was originally released as four digital albums and met with a warm reception: reviewing Symphonies Nos. 1 &3 , BBC Music Magazine noted that 'while the orchestra’s beautifully rounded collective sound is a world away from today’s period-style hegemony, it has such quality in its own right that nothing sounds anachronistic', and Gramophone observed that the playing in the Pastoral 'vividly evokes an atmosphere of refreshing coolness'.

Available Formats: 5 SACDs + Blu-ray Audio, MP3, FLAC, Hi-Res FLAC, Hi-Res+ FLAC

Benjamin Alard (harpsichord), Mahler Chamber Orchestra, Pablo Heras-Casado

All three works on this album date from the 1920s and draw inspiration from earlier periods in music history. Stravinsky described Pulcinella as 'my discovery of the past, the epiphany through which the whole of my late work became possible'; Falla's Harpsichord Concerto (written for Wanda Landowska) and his puppet-opera El retablo de maese Pedro ('Master Peter's Puppet-Show', based on an episode from Cervantes's Don Quixote) both incorporate elements of Spanish early music and neo-Classicism.

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

Louise Alder (Theodora), Tim Mead (Didymus), Anna Stéphany (Irene), Stuart Jackson (Septimius), Adam Plachetka (Valens); Arcangelo, Jonathan Cohen

This studio recording of Handel's oratorio about religious persecution was made in London last spring, immediately after a concert performance of the work at the Barbican which was praised in The Guardian for the 'pure, subtle and extremely tasteful' singing of the five soloists, and for Cohen's 'endlessly energetic' direction from the harpsichord. The Times, meanwhile, singled out Alder and Mead's 'exquisitely sung' final duet and Stéphany's 'poise and rich colour' as Theodora's mentor Irene.

Available Formats: 3 CDs, MP3, FLAC, Hi-Res FLAC

Olga Kulchynska (soprano), Nicole Chirka (mezzo), Dmytro Popov (tenor), Vladyslav Buialskyi (bass-baritone), Ukrainian Freedom Orchestra, Podlasie Opera and Philharmonic Choir, Keri-Lynn Wilson

Founded by Keri-Lynn Wilson in 2022, the Ukrainian Freedom Orchestra comprises musicians from ensembles including the Kyiv Camerata, Odesa Philharmonic Orchestra and Lviv Philharmonic Orchestra, and is described as 'the musical voice of Ukraine' by its patron Olena Zelenska. This performance was recorded live in Warsaw last year, with choir and soloists singing a new Ukrainian translation prepared by Wilson and Ievgeniia Iermachkova.

Available Formats: MP3, FLAC, Hi-Res FLAC

Bojan Čičić (violin), Steven Devine (harpsichord)

Following his acclaimed recording of Bach's complete solo sonatas and partitas last year (which was a Gramophone Critics' Choice), the Croatian violinist joins forces with Steven Devine for seven complete sonatas, plus several stand-alone movements and fragments and the brief sonata from Il trionfo del Tempo e della Verità. The album received five stars in The Times earlier this week, with Geoff Brown remarking that 'Čičić ’s eloquent, gracefully ornamented delivery of Handel’s melodic flights sits perfectly alongside the sprightly sounds of Devine’s 1756 harpsichord'.

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

Named after the dedicatee of Brahms's String Quartet No. 2 (the soprano Agathe von Siebold), the French ensemble was formed in 2016, and has recently been named as one of ECHO's Rising Stars for the 2024/25 season; as well as the three string quartets, the album includes first violinist Adrien Jurkovic's transcription of the Romanze Op. 118 No. 5. The group's performance of String Quartet No. 1 at the Lammermuir Festival was described as 'compelling and memorable... a highlight of the Festival' by Edinburgh Music Review in 2022.

Available Formats: MP3, FLAC, Hi-Res FLAC

Jean-Yves Thibaudet (piano), Michael Feinstein (piano)

Described as 'toe-tapping, witty and irresistible' in The Guardian last week, this album celebrating the hundredth birthday of Rhapsody in Blue features world premiere recordings of four rediscovered Gershwin songs: Graceful and Elegant, Dance of the Waves, Sutton Place and Under the Cinnamon Tree. The programme also includes Someone to Watch Over Me, I Got Rhythm, Embraceable You, They Can't Take That Away from Me, and Vincent Youmans's Tea for Two.

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

Katia & Marielle Labèque (piano)

Three years on from their recording of the suite from Les Enfants terribles (arranged for them by Michael Riesman at the composer's request and included again here), the French piano duo present suites from Glass's other two operas inspired by Jean Cocteau: Orphée (1993) and La Belle et la Bête (1994), also arranged by Riesman. The French siblings have a long-standing association with Glass, having premiered his Double Concerto for Two Pianos in 2015.

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

Stephen Farr (organ)

The centrepiece of this album of works by the British composer and psychotherapist (b.1955) is A Celebration for All Saints, commissioned by Farr and first performed in 2022 at Merton College Oxford (where this album was recorded). The programme also includes the De Profundis for organ and cello (with the composer's daughter Indira), the Flourish and Reverie from the early 1990s, and Wir haben schwerlich - written as part of the multi-composer Orgelbüchlein Project.

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

Solomiya Ivakhiv (violin), Steven Beck (piano)

This triptych of twentieth-century works by Ukrainian composers comprises Viktor Kosenko's two-movement Violin Sonata in A minor from 1928, Myroslav Skoryk's Violin Sonata No. 2 from 1990 (which references Beethoven, Prokofiev and Gershwin), and Serge Bortkiewicz's Violin Sonata in G minor from the mid-1920s. Currently Head of Strings at the University of Connecticut, Solomiya Ivakhiv was awarded the title of Honored Artist of Ukraine by president Volodymyr Zelenskyy in 2021.

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

Alessandro Fisher (tenor), Anna Tilbrook (piano)

Inspired by the many hours which Fisher and his wife spent in their garden during the lockdowns of 2020, this programme of songs celebrating the natural world includes Elgar's The Language of Flowers, Toldrà's Floreix l'ametller, Gustavino's La rosa y el sauce, Sibelius's Flower Songs, Clara Schumann's Das Veilchen, Robert Schumann's Die Lotosblume, and Flanders & Swann's Misalliance. The recital was recorded live at Wigmore Hall in July 2021.

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

Magnificat, Philip Cave

This first instalment of a projected trilogy exploring Lassus's Magnificats based on polyphonic genres focuses on the inspiration which he drew from the madrigal, featuring models by Philippe Verdelot, Orazio Vecchi, Cipriano de Rore, Cristóbal de Morales and Alessandro Striggio. The second and third volumes will feature canticles based on motets and chansons respectively.

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