What’s On Preview! | April 4, 2021

Catalyst Quartet
Photo courtesy of the artists

The Catalyst Quartet has embarked on an ambitious project of an ongoing performance and recording anthology of the complete string quartets and chamber works by historically important Black composers. From the first recording in the series named Uncovered comes the Clarinet Quintet in F sharp minor by Samuel Coleridge Taylor.

From the pen of Icelandic composer Ólafur Arnalds comes Zero from his album some kind of peace. Arnalds creates a soundscape from a multi-instrument palette including both acoustic and electronic sounds.

In Paris Update, Nick Hammond writes: “The writer Marcel Proust put on a private concert at the Paris Ritz on July 1, 1907, for a select group of friends and leading lights of Parisian high society. The evening appears to have been not only a musical and social triumph but also certainly a kind of study session for the eagle-eyed writer that would inform scenes depicting such musical salons in his masterpiece, À la Recherche du Temps Perdu (In Search of Lost Time).

“Now, on a delightful new recording, Proust, le Concert Retrouvé (Harmonia Mundi), Théotime Langlois de Swarte (violin) and Tanguy de Williencourt (piano), whose own glorious names would not look out of place on the guest list of one of the salons described by Proust in his lengthy novel, have attempted to recreate that evening in 1907. To add to the sense of authenticity, the performers play on historical instruments from the Paris Musée de la Musique: Stradivari’s “Davidoff” violin from 1708 and an 1891 Érard Grand Piano.”

Three-time Grammy Award-winning violinist Hilary Hahn melds expressive musicality and technical expertise with a diverse repertoire guided by artistic curiosity. Elizabeth Elliott speaks with Hilary about her latest recording entitled Paris. Following the interview Hilary plays Ernest Chausson’s Poème.

John Rutter is one of our listeners’ favorite composers of choral music. In his recently-released CD Rutter: Anthems, Hymns and Gloria for Brass Band, John displays his gift for melody and warm harmonies in this arrangement of Distant Land (A Prayer for Freedom) played by the Black Dyke Band.

Mention a concerto and you and I think of a composition written for a solo instrument and orchestra. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, as he did with so many forms, takes the concerto to a whole new level with his Concerto No. 7 in F for 3 Pianos. The Israeli Multipiano Ensemble is accompanied by the English Chamber Orchestra.

Benjamin Grosvenor
Photo: Sophie Wright

The brilliant English pianist Benjamin Grosvenor has recorded a virtuoso work by Franz Liszt, his Reminiscences of Bellini’s Norma. This is a piece which Liszt composed because he knew his audiences loved opera. So, it made great sense to him to compress Bellini’s Norma into 15 minutes or so. Moreover, he managed to include seven arias from the opera as well.

Ludwig van Beethoven, I daresay, has been the favorite composer of Preview! listeners for decades. So it is with great pleasure we share yet another recording of Beethoven’s Violin Concerto in D with you. Gil Shaham recorded it with the New York-based orchestra The Knights.

Rob Kennedy
April 4, 2021