This Week's #DriveCDPick
"In order to create, there must be a dynamic force and what force is more potent that love?"
~ Igor Stravinsky
The latest album by Mischa and Lily Maisky takes listeners on a captivation journey through works from the 20th century. Original compositions and arrangements for cello reveal the diversity of an eventful era with a cellist whose mastery of the cantabile and dance-like qualities of the repertoire is breathtaking. A bonus CD features two very special works: a multi-track recording of Bachianas Brasileiras No. 1 by Villa-Lobos (with Mischa Maisky playing all eight cello parts) and the world premiere recording of the fascination cello concerto by Benjamin Yusupov.
"The artist must yield himself to his own inspiration, and if he has a true talent, no one knows and feels better than he what suits him."
~ Giuseppe Verdi
American star tenor Michael Fabiano presents a spectacular set of scenes taken from late Donizetti and middle Verdi operas, revealing the strong ties between these two composers. The album documents a paradigmatic shift in Italian opera, from the beautiful lines and crispness of belcanto to a richer, more dramatic musical universe. The historical line stretches from Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor, Poliuto and Maria di Rohan to mature Verdi operas such as Rigoletto, Un ballo in maschera and Don Carlos. In many cases, Fabiano has selected original, rarely-heard versions, including the thunderous ‘Qual sangue sparsi’ from the original St. Petersburg edition of La forza del destino.
Together, these arias and scenes constitute a world full of heartfelt tenderness and fire-laden drama. After numerous successes on the opera stage, this is Michael Fabiano’s debut album on PENTATONE.
"We all face obstacles in our lives, moments when the foundations are shaken to the core and it seems there is no way forward. I would love to imagine that this album will not only be an enjoyable journey through great music, but also an inspiration to others to find space in their lives to reflect and find their own ways to overcome the challenges and adversities they face every day in this crazy modern world."
MILOŠ IS BACK! Three years after suffering a devastating hand injury, Miloš Karadaglic returns with his fifth studio album, and his first recording since 2016 poignantly entitled ‘Sound of Silence’, set for release on Decca Classics. Of the album, he says, "Sound of Silence is my reflection on that time. It includes both guitar pieces that I used in order to build myself up from the ground again, as well as those amazing songs I listened to in moments when I had to get away from it all. It’s a personal scrapbook of music that will always have a special meaning to me."
"Without John Williams, bikes don't fly and neither do brooms in Quidditch matches nor do men in red capes. There is no Force, dinosaurs do not walk the earth. We do not wonder, we do not weep, we do not believe."
~ Steven Spielberg
In the midst of his work on Star Wars’ Final Episode IX John Williams has created and conducted a complete album with Anne-Sophie Mutter and in mutual admiration. It presents his personal selection of iconic themes as well as rediscovered gems from more than 40 years of his music for film.
The music ranges from Star Wars motifs ("Luke and Leia" from Return of the Jedi) to more recent pieces ("Hedwig’s Theme" from Harry Potter). Two themes from Williams’ Oscar-winning Schindler’s List score (the main theme and "Remembrances") are also featured. A few more surprising choices include new versions of themes from Cinderella Liberty and Dracula, originally written in the 1970s and rarely performed since then.
"My idea is that there is music in the air, music all around us; the world is full of it, and you simply take as much as you require."
~ Edward Elgar
When the world threatens to descend into chaos, the longing for Paradise grows apace. Time and again composers have invoked this discovery and turned it into music in many different ways. Now the internationally acclaimed oboist Albrecht Mayer has joined forces with the Bamberg Symphony and Jakub Hruša to present several of these creations on his new album, Longing for Paradise. Featuring Elgar's Soliloquy for Oboe and Orchestra, Concerto for Oboe and Small Orchestra by R. Strauss, Ravel's Le Tombeau de Couperin and Concerto for Oboe and Orchestra in One Movement by Eugene Aynsley Goossens.
"For me, these many-colored songs are a perfect reflection of the highly emotional way of life in the South – there’s that almost crazy kind of love, but also a deeply felt sentimentality."
~ Elina Garanca
Deutsche Grammophon has just released Elina Garanca’s newest album: Sol y Vida, a celebration of love and the long hot days of summer. A very personal selection of music from the Latvian mezzo, the album’s repertoire ranges from well-known Italian love songs to Spanish and Latin American favorites.
This album marks Elina’s first recording of entirely non-core-classical repertoire, with a colorful program featuring tango, Latin American folk music, and Italian love songs. Karel Mark Chichon conducts the Orquesta Filarmónica de Gran Canaria.
"I adore art...when I am alone with my notes, my heart pounds and the tears stream from my eyes, and my emotion and my joys are too much to bear."
~ Giuseppe Verdi
American star tenor Michael Fabiano reveals the strong ties between late Donizetti and middle Verdi on his debut album, shedding light on a paradigmatic shift in Italian opera, from belcanto to a richer, more dramatic musical universe. Fabiano is accompanied by the London Philharmonic Orchestra and London Voices, conducted by Enrique Mazzola.
Dubourg! Thy power is near divine!
Sweet harmony, and taste, are thine!
Play on; th'inanimate inspire!
Till brutes shall gaze, and fools admire!
Then, in some wild, and tuneless strain,
Play tricks - and fix 'em - fools again!
~ Benjamin Victor, on Mr. Dubourg's excellent performance on the violin (1743)
Peter Whelan champions the music of Matthew Dubourg in his recording debut as Artistic Director of the Irish Baroque Orchestra. Dubourg, a pupil of Francesco Geminiani, was a charismatic virtuoso and composer who Whelan believes deserves to be acknowledged as one of Ireland’s most influential musicians. With many of his compositions having only recently come to light, most are presented here for the very first time including the world premiere of the ode ‘Crowned with a more illustrious light’. The eclectic programme showcases a composer whose music is shot-through with humanity, charm, virtuosity and wit. The works includes arrangements of Irish traditional melodies, music written for royal celebrations and virtuosic violin solos in the fashionable Italian style. A Corelli violin sonata and a violin concerto by Vivaldi paint a picture of the musical landscape in which Dubourg’s creativity flourished. This recording is an exciting rediscovery of long forgotten, but truly wonderful, music from Ireland’s past.
"So much of what we do is ephemeral and quickly forgotten, even by ourselves, so it's gratifying to have something you have done linger in people's memories."
~ John Williams
No other world-class orchestra champions the classic film music tradition like the Los Angeles Philharmonic does - and the close working relationship its Music and Artistic Director Gustavo Dudamel has established with legendary film-music composer John Williams makes this the ultimate showcase album of the composer's greatest works. Celebrating John Williams features a selection of unforgettable themes from Williams' much loved scores for films and film series such as Star Wars, E.T., Jurassic Park, Harry Potter and Indiana Jones.
"It's easy to play any musical instrument: all you have to do is touch the right key at the right time and the instrument will play itself."
~ J.S. Bach
This deluxe edition of Avi Avital's highly successful solo album "Bach" (2012) includes rare bonus material: a brand new recording of Bach's Solo Partita No. 2 as well as a DVD featuring Avital and the Australian Brandenburg Orchestra playing Bach. This release highlights Avi Avital's outstanding ability to convey his enthusiasm for the mandolin as a solo instrument, which can be experienced withing these excellently arranged and matchlessly performed Bach pieces.
"It is only when we become aware that our time is limited that we can channel our energy into truly living"
~ Ludovico Einaudi
‘Seven Days Walking’: seven bodies of music to be released over seven consecutive months. The first, ‘Seven Days Walking: Day One’, which interweaves piano and strings in his unmistakable style, is Einaudi’s 14th studio album, just released. ‘Seven Days Walking: Day Two’ follows a month later. Each ‘day’ is then released, digitally, a month apart, leading up to ‘Day Seven’ which will be released in the autumn in a box-set of the complete Seven Days. Inspiration for the entire project derived from walks that Einaudi would take through the mountains in winter. He explains, "In January last year I often went for long walks in the mountains, always following more or less the same trail. It snowed heavily, and my thoughts roamed free inside the storm, where all shapes, stripped bare by the cold, lost their contours and colours. Perhaps that feeling of extreme essence was the origin of this album." The first album focuses on several main themes, which then recur in different forms on the following albums – seven variations following the same imaginary itinerary. Or the same itinerary, retraced at seven different times.
"I merely took the energy it takes to pout and wrote some blues."
~ Duke Ellington
Violinist Rachel Barton Pine, "an exciting, boundary-defying performer" (Washington Post) known for her "bravura technique and soulful musicianship" (New York Times), headlines a groundbreaking album of blues-influenced classical works for solo violin and violin and piano by 20th and 21st century composers of African descent.
World-premiere recordings include Noel Da Costa’s A Set of Dance Tunes for Solo Violin, based on American fiddle tunes, and Billy Childs’ Incident on Larpenteur Avenue, a single-movement violin sonata/tone poem written as a response to a fatal shooting by police. Another premiere is Wendell Logan’s violin and piano arrangement of Duke Ellington’s 1935 composition, In a Sentimental Mood. Lorcan plays a track or two every day this week on Classic Drive.
"Though everything else may appear shallow and repulsive, even the smallest task in music is so absorbing, and carries us so far away from town, country, earth, and all worldly things, that is truly a blessed gift of God."
~ Felix Mendelssohn
Canadian pianist Jan Lisiecki explores a pair of early Romantic masterpieces: Mendelssohn’s Piano Concertos in G minor and D minor, in which he is accompanied by the internationally acclaimed Orpheus Chamber Orchestra of New York. He complements the two concertos with a selection of some of Mendelssohn’s most brilliant pieces for solo piano: the Variations sérieuses, the Rondo capriccioso and the "Venetian Boat Song" from the Songs without Words.
On his most famous work, Adiemus:
"It is written in a very particular lingo, made-up nonsense language that can speak to anyone. It's classical music mixed with world music. I am a musical tourist. For Adiemus, I took my influences from around the world and put them together. I think that's what I do in all my work."
~ Karl Jenkins
This 2CD compilation presents a selection of the most popular pieces by the nation's best-loved living composer, Karl Jenkins. It includes music from best-selling recordings Adiemus, The Armed Man, Requiem, Gloria, Stabat Mater, Palladio, Stella Natalis and Quirk.
"I always considered the chamber music setting as my native environment, and the small orchestra intimacy of the Haydn concerti along with the dynamic range of the Schoenberg allowed the session to feel both big and small. This, coupled with the personal relationship I developed with my artistic partners, made for a uniquely intimate experience. I believe this comes through in the performances that I am thrilled to be sharing with you here."
~ Alisa Weilerstein
Transfigured Night explores the stylistic contrasts of the First and Second Viennese Schools, by combining Haydn’s first and second cello concertos with Schoenberg’s Verklärte Nacht. Through Transfigured Night‘s unprecedented musical pairing, Alisa not only invites listeners to a new perspective on both Viennese composers, but also takes her own personal journey back in time to the city from which her grandparents fled in 1938.
"Recent scientific studies show that listening to music makes people happy – especially listening to music in the company of others.But I’ve known that for years! I see it happening every night, right in front of me at our concerts. Whether we’re playing a captivating waltz like the ‘Blue Danube’ or a romantic melody like the ‘Vilja Song‘, I see people looking happy, even radiant, because they’re listening to our music. And of course, we in the Johann Strauss Orchestra are very proud of that.
I hope I can carry on making you happy with our music for a long time to come, and I wish you great enjoyment listening to ‘Romantic Moments II’ !"
~ André Rieu
This week's album features the romantic sounds of André Rieu and The Johann Strauss Orchestra performing favourites such as Strangers in the Night, Sail Along Silvery Moon, Sunrise Sunset, and Morning Hymn from 'The Sound of Music'. This album also features a bonus DVD A Summer Night with André Rieu.
"My people are American, my time is today...music must repeat the thought and aspirations of the times."
~ George Gershwin.
Pianist Viv McLean joins forces with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Simon Lee to bring you American Dreams - an album of arrangements for piano and orchestra on the works of George Gershwin. Featuring favourites like Rhapsody in Blue, I Got Rhythm, Embraceable You and S'wonderful. This album also includes 3 bonus tracks from the Gershwin Songbook arranged for piano and orchestra by Hershy Kay.