Drive CD Pick 2018

Drive CD Pick 2018

#DriveCDPick 2018

Nemanja Radulovic’s latest album, Baïka, takes us on a journey through different musical regions. From the Armenia of Khachaturian we travel to Rimsky-Korsakov’s fairy-tale Arabia before reaching the shores of the Black Sea with Aleksandar Sedlar. On this new recording from Deutsche Grammophon, the Franco-Serbian violinist is accompanied by some of his most long-standing musical friends and collaborators.

The award-winning cellist and composer Peter Gregson is the latest contemporary composer to be invited by Deutsche Grammophon to reinterpret iconic works in the classical canon for their pioneering Recomposed series. For his record, Gregson ‘recomposed’ perhaps the best-loved of all works for his instrument, the Bach Cello Suites. His approach was to retain the shape and flow of the suites, whilst still allowing his own aesthetic to come through. Gregson’s reinterpretation adds a new instrumental dimension, reimagining them for a five-person cello ensemble, analogue synthesizers and his own solo cello. The recording was made at the infamous AIR Studios in London with complex and high production values that made use of the physical space. The five cellists were widely dispersed throughout the studio galleries and Gregson turned the variety of analogue synthesizers, which he played himself, into acoustic instruments by re-amplifying them. The result is a multilayered sound that brings a new aural dimension to the works. 

Superstars tenor Roberto Alagna and soprano Aleksandra Kurzak, have made the most poignant duets from Puccini's operas the focus of their first collaborative album, excerpts from Manon Lescaut, La Fanciulla del West, Madama Butterfly, Il tabarro, and of course La Bohème – music brimming over with passion and powerful emotions, brilliantly composed for the voice, and subtly orchestrated for the orchestra.

Award winning composer, Craig Armstrong (Love Actually, Romeo and Juliet & Moulin Rouge), has released Sun on You, an album of compositions dedicated to music for piano and strings with the Scottish Ensemble. The pieces have been composed and arranged by Armstrong, who says, "When composing I felt strongly that each composition gave me, the ensemble and the listener a moment to reflect. The unhurried nature of the pieces gives a sense of time standing still. I think I wanted the pieces to reflect a quietness and stillness." 

My #DriveCDPick this week see the release of Italian Violinist Francesco Dego’s new album: Suite Italienne. It has been recorded with pianist Francesca Leonardi and features Respighi’s Violin Sonata in B Minor, Stravinsky’s Suite Italienne – plus the world-premiere recording of three Fantasias for violin and piano, based on the themes of The Barber of Seville and La Traviata, by composer Mark Castelnuovo-Tedesco. The recording is a very personal celebration by Francesca of wonderful Italian-inspired music, a collection of homages by twentieth-century composers to the rich and glorious Italian musical heritage, from Baroque to Opera.The cd is called Suite Italienne because of Stravinsky’s Pergolesi-inspired suite, but also because each piece has a special connection to dance and musical theatre.

Genre is not a word that seems to be in Renée Fleming's vocabulary. The opera star and four time Grammy award winner graced the Broadway stage last season as Nettie in Rodgers and Hammerstein's Carousel, so it’s no surprise that Decca have released this new album Broadway which is our #DriveCDPick all this week.The album encompasses a wide range of showstoppers, covering popular titles from Cole Porter to Stephen Sondheim to Jeanie Tesori, and everything in between. The song selection makes the album a pleasing listen, and her contemporary selections add to Previous #DriveCDPick

My #DriveCDPick this week features Tony Bennett and Diana Krall as they celebrate their shared love of the music of George and Ira Gershwin. Love Is Here To Stay is a subtle, sophisticated and beautifully rendered love letter to The Gershwins music and their status as one of the premiere songwriters of the American popular standard. The duet tracks include S'Wonderful, I've Got Rhythm, They Can't Take That Away from Me and Fascinating Rhythm. Fascinating Rhythm was Tony Bennett's first physical recording in 1949, made under his then stage name, Joe Bari, which he revisits as a duet with Krall for this project.

This week’s #DriveCDPick is from a pianist that the New York Times have heralded as the hottest artist on the classical music planet, Chinese pianist Lang Lang. The album "Piano Magic"  is a compilation of his much loved and famous works from the Sony catalogue ...a showcase of the pianist’s interpretive magic and renowned finger fireworks! Mozart, Bach, Chopin, Joplin and more ...a feast of favourites!

My #DriveCDPick this week sees Alice Sara Ott take a very personal look at the magical moment in time and space between day and night, light and darkness, basing her explorations on works by Debussy, Satie and Ravel.  She decided to mark the dual celebration of her 30th birthday and her 10th anniversary as a Deutsche Grammophon artist by examining her relationship with three French composers who have had a significant influence on her, and whose music made an indelible impression on the Parisian arts scene at the turn of the 20th century.

This week’s #DriveCDPick gives you an opportunity to experience the highlights from the German operatic tenor Jonas Kaufmann’s magical live concert from Berlin’s stage beneath the stars,"The Waldbuhne" as he celebrates this magical musical culture.

Our #DriveCDPick this week sees Mischa Maisky presents a slow moving album of all time favourites with relaxing and inspiring melodies which includes a multi track arrangement of Mahler's Adagietto from his 5th in which he plays all parts except the harp. The release also includes three live recordings of chamber music with Martha Argerich, Janine Jansen,Julian Rachlin and Sascha Maisky .This very personable album by Mischa is dedicated to his youngest daughter Mila!

My #DriveCDPick this week sees Mozart’s two piano quartets recorded live at the Pierre Boulez Saal in Berlin by a dream team assembled by Daniel Barenboim and three alumni of the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra which included his son Michael on Violin. The CD has been described as ‘...characterful, congenial performances...’

This week my #DriveCDPick has been available for a few months but I could not let it slip under our radar. Mirages featuring French Soprano Sabine Devieilhe has been getting rave reviews with her signature operatic role as Lakmé forming the starting point for this enticing album. A collection of opera and song in French, its theme is the exotic allure of faraway and imagined places and people. In addition to three pieces from Delibes’ opera, it features music by Berlioz, Debussy and Stravinsky along with some rarer names. Sabine is joined by mezzo-soprano Marianne Crebassa, pianist Alexandre Tharaud and the period-instrument orchestra Les Siècles under its founder, François-Xavier Roth. 

My #DriveCDPick this week is "Rachel Podger – Vivaldi" and what better music than Vivaldi’s ‘Le Quattro Stagioni’ to start the celebration of the British Baroque Violinist’s 50th birthday year and someone who has serious form when it comes to Vivaldi! Together with the star players of Brecon Baroque, Rachel guides you through the seasons of nature and life. Rachel’s producer Jonathan Freeman-Attwood said "Working with Rachel Podger and Brecon Baroque has been an object lesson in starting anew and identifying the ingredients which make ‘Le Quattro Stagioni’ great works.

This week’s #DriveCDPick  'Jazz Loves Bernstein' Commemorates, beloved Composer/Conductor Leonard Bernstein's Centennial, (August 25th), with a Star-Studded release featuring Classic Jazz Interpretations of The Maestro's greatest songs.

Our #DriveCDPick this week showcases works from the "golden age" of the violin, with arrangements/ transcriptions by Fritz Kreisler and Jascha Heifetz around a centerpiece of the magnificent Bruch concerto. The collection also includes 3 pieces with Ray’s string quartet "Made In Berlin" – an exciting chamber music string collective made up exclusively of members of the Berlin Philharmoniker.

Our #DriveCDPick this week features Six-time Tony Award winner Audra McDonald and her recent concert performance with the New York Philharmonic Orchestra in New York and Conductor Andy Einhorn. Here Audra performs a selection of material new to her repertoire, as well as songs she has never previously recorded, including "I Am What I Am" from La Cage aux Folles, "Vanilla Ice Cream" from She Loves Me, "Children Will Listen from Into the Woods. Nice and light for a summer's evening on Classic Drive...enjoy!

Our #DriveCDPick this week sees for the first time on the Lyric label a selection of the the most popular and iconic compositions recorded by the Band of the Irish Defence Forces, every track is resonant with history. AJ Potter, Hamilton Harty, John F. Larchet and Seán O'Riada, key figures in the development of the western art-music tradition in Ireland in the 20th century all featured on this recording.

Our #DriveCDPick features the German-American conductor William Steinberg’s famous readings of Strauss’ Also Sprach Zarathustra and Holst’s "The Planets" newly remastered on Deutsche Grammophon. These recordings remain mementos of Steinberg’s brief tenure as the Boston Symphony Orchestra’s Music Director cut all too short due to ailing health and appropriate as this year marks the  100th anniversary of the first performance of "The Planets".

A new release of remastered audio from the original analogue recordings on Deutsche Grammophon of Herbert von Karajan’s glorious 1965 double-feature of Mascagni’s Cavalleria rusticana and Leoncavallo’s Pagliacci with Coro e Orchestra del Teatro alla Scala, Fiorenza Cossotto (Cavalleria) and Giuseppe Taddei and Rolando Panerai (Pagliacci); and both casts feature the great Carlo Bergonzi in lead roles.

The connections between baroque and traditional Irish music are explored in this fascinating new recording from the lyric label, which brings together the traditional music skills of uilleann piper David Power with acclaimed early music group Camerata Kilkenny. The opening track, Carolan’s Sí bheag, sí mhór sets the tone for the CD, beginning with the solo pipes before being underpinned by Barry Guy’s jazz-influenced bass-riffs and then the singing strings of the rest of the group. What follows in compositions by Telemann, Purcell and Leclair, and a number of traditional tunes is a celebration of Ireland’s musical history. Key to the performance of both styles of music is ornamentation – the use of grace notes, runs and trills - which brings the written notes alive, giving the music a feeling of improvisation. So while the music derives from the eighteenth century, this live exploratory edge really gives these performances a contemporary feel.

Our #DriveCDPick this week features Beethoven’s Symphonies no’s 5 and 7. This recording sees Decca Gold  announce a long-term partnership with the New York Philharmonic and their incoming Music Director, Jaap van Zweden and the first of six additional recordings in the 2018–19 season featuring the Dutch conductor as the 26th musical director of the NYPO.

This week's #DriveCDPick features two remarkable artists at the peak of their powers, Vladimir Ashkenazy & Georg Solti, who joined forces with Chicago Symphony Orchestra to record one of the greatest achievements in the history of music. The result was the finest cycle of Beethoven’s immortal Piano Concertos ever recorded. Decca have now released this Grammy Award Winning set at stunning 24-bit sound, mastered from original analogue tapes.

Our #DriveCDPick sees Pianists Martha Argerich and Sergei Babayan present two stunning selections from Prokofiev’s music for stage and screen in magnificent two-piano transcriptions by Babayan. The album features Babayan’s twelve-movement transcription of numbers from the ballet Romeo and Juliet and his seven-movement suite transcribed from the Russian composer’s incidental music for Hamlet and Eugene Onegin, film score for The Queen of Spades and opera War and Peace. These new Prokofiev transcriptions are both dedicated to Martha Argerich. "This project happened because of my love for Prokofiev, my love for Martha and my love for the ballet Romeo and Juliet," reflects Babayan. Listen in and sense the mutual inspiration felt by these kindred spirits, palpable in their live performances together, captured for posterity in these recordings.

This week’s #DriveCDPick "Bernstein on Broadway" features the composer as conductor in West Side Story not a typical 'cast recording' here, New York, September 1984, everybody was recruited especially for the job and moulded, literally overnight, into a musical team. For Bernstein, who had never conducted the work before, it was an opportunity to explore the work as he had envisioned it  Candide performances drawn from Bernstein’s last-ever studio sessions, represent the composer’s final thoughts on his great opera.  Michael Tilson Thomas conducts On The Town ...basically all of Bernstein’s best loved songs are on this special anniversary edition with all-star casts, including José Carreras, Kiri Te Kanawa, Marilyn Horne, Thomas Hampson, Christa Ludwig, Nicolai Gedda, Frederica von Stade, June Anderson, Jerry Hadley.

Our #DriveCDPick all this week see's 23 year old South Korean Pianist Seong-Jin Cho explore the music of Claude Debussy on the 100th anniversary of the great French composer’s death. It’s fitting that Seong-Jin dedicates this album to some of Debussy’s most popular piano works... his formative years have been spent in Paris and he feels a very strong affinity with the composer. Seong-Jin has brought together some of Debussy's most popular works and cycles such as Images I & II, Suite Bergamasque (including the beloved Clair de Lune) and Children’s Corner, which contains favourites of every aspiring piano student. Debussy also marked the beginning of Seong-Jin’s career, as Children’s Corner was on the program of his very first ever appearance on stage!

This week’s #DriveCDPick features a selection of the greatest ever recordings for violin from Deutsche Grammophon’s catalogue of the world’s greatest violinists. This is a perfect introduction to classical violin music. While enthusiasts will enjoy listening to acclaimed recordings the album is ideal for anyone studying the violin. Presenting violin repertoire from the last 300 years from Baroque masterpieces through all the great concertos and sonatas of the twentieth century to contemporary masterworks of the 21st.

This week’s #DriveCDPick features premiere recordings of three of Bill Whelan’s major compositions, performed by the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra conducted by David Brophy: a symphonic setting of the music of Riverdance where he has kept the rhythmic energy and melodies that make the work so popular but presents all the themes in a way that is playable by the majestic sweep of a full orchestra, without the traditional musicians. Linen and Lace, a flute concerto for Sir James Galway musically unites their respective home cities of Belfast (linen) and Limerick (lace). And Inishlacken, a concerto for two violins (one in the classical style played by Helena Wood and one traditional played by Zoe Conway), named after a deserted island off the Galway coast.

This week’s #DriveCDPick Visions of Prokofiev sees Lisa Batiashvili presents a masterful version of Prokofiev's two violin concertos, in partnership with the Chamber Orchestra of Europe and Yannick Nézet-Séguin. Lisa’s talent turns standard repertoire into something new and special, allowing you to rediscover Prokofiev through her eyes. The album features the core classic Prokofiev (violin concertos), as well as selected movements of his famous ballets with their very recognizable tunes (Cinderella, Romeo and Juliet, The Love for Three Oranges), newly arranged for Solo Violin and Orchestra by Lisa’s father Tamás Batiashvili.

This week's #DriveCDPick  "Journey to Mozart" sees Daniel Hope turning to core classical repertoire again, exploring the world of Mozart, as well as composers that inspired him and vice versa. The album is a reflection of the age seen through his and heard through his ears! The only works to be included on the album are by composers whom publicly acknowledged Mozart and who were connected to him personally. The album consists of two popular Violin Concertos by Haydn and Mozart, as well as the famous Mozart Adagio in E-Major. We also see Daniel Hope continuing his fruitful relationship as musical director of the Zurich Chamber Orchestra.

Our Drive CD Pick this week sees two stars from different generations, mark their first collaboration with an album devoted to one of the supreme landmarks of classical music. Anne-Sophie Mutter, who in 2016 celebrated the 40th anniversary of her professional debut, and Daniil Trifonov, now in his mid-twenties, joined forces with three outstanding young string playing alumni of the Mutter Foundation at the Baden-Baden Festspielhaus in June to perform Schubert’s Piano Quintet in A major, popularly known as the "Trout" Quintet. It was Anne-Sophie's 1st recording ever of this quintet! They also explored the composer’s Notturno, a sublime late work for violin, cello and piano, along with arrangements of his songs Ständchen and Ave Maria for violin and piano.

Our #DriveCDPick this week sees ,Daniel Barenboim record a hand-picked selection of solo piano pieces by Claude Debussy , his tribute to the composer who passed away 100 years ago next month. Daniel brings this together with an earlier recording of the first book of Préludes dating from 1909-10, forming a richly multi-faceted programme for this latest album on Deutsche Grammophon

My #Drive CDPick  this week is "Retrospective" an artist portrait personally curated by Violinist Hilary Hahn, featuring tracks from the majority of albums she made as a Deutsche Grammophon artist. Retrospective also includes almost 30 minutes of new, unreleased material from a live concert of Mozart’s Violin Sonata K379 which is new to Hilary’s discography. The portraits used for the cover and packaging artwork were designed by Hilary’s fans; they were commissioned via her social media!

My #Drive CDPick dives into impressionistic musical landscapes inspired by the calming beauty of nature and unwind with Debussy’s most relaxing piano melodies. Listen for yourself and hear Claude Debussy’s captivating soundscapes performed by legendary interpreters of the composer's music from Arturo Benedetti  Michelangeli and Pierre-Laurent Aimard to Jean-Yves Thibaudet and Mitsuko Uchida .Included too are recordings by a younger generation of performers including Hélène Grimaud, Rafal Blechacz and Seong-Jin Cho. This 2 CD set plus booklet commemorates the 100th anniversary of Debussy’s death.

Chloë Hanslip has established herself as an artist of distinction on the international stage, and Danny Driver is one of Britain’s most respected and versatile pianists.They are approaching the culmination of a complete Beethoven Violin Sonata cycle where each concert is both broadcast live and recorded for Rubicon. Beethoven’s ten violin sonatas represent the supreme challenge for a violin and piano duo, and the drama, visceral excitement and many intimate moments of these masterpieces is superbly captured by these great performers. The Rubicon series comprises of three volumes to be released over the next 12 months and their release of Sonatas 3,6 and 8 features as our #DriveCDPick this week... a superb collaborative relationship. What also struck me was the freshness and spontaneity of their approach.

This week's #DriveCDPick features White Raven a capella vocal trio based in Basel, Switzerland. This is their fourth album... presenting a selection of traditional songs which transcend the boundaries of the ocean which separates the three singers from their countries of birth. Irish, Scottish, Icelandic and American songs are all represented and celebrated in this collection. The three-part a cappella arrangements are sung with a clarity and simplicity that allow the originality of the songs to shine through. White Raven casts its spell on this beautiful collection of songs.

Our first #DriveCDPick of 2018 features two of the most captivating women in classical music Cecilia Bartoli and Sol Gabetta coming together for a recent release...the album ‘Dolce Duello’ or Sweet Duel on Decca Classics. It’s a collection of Baroque masterpieces which showcase the stunning combination of voice and cello in a series of dazzling duels and wondrous arias. To coincide with the release, Bartoli and Gabetta have been performing on a European tour with Cappella Gabetta and conductor and violinist Andrés Gabetta. ‘Dolce Duello’ covers almost a century of music. An album full of "Sweet Treats" for every taste! 


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