What’s On Preview! | April 11, 2021

The Vienna Philharmonic’s New Year’s Day Concerts are a tradition dating back to 1939. The 2021 concert featured Riccardo Muti conducting the usual suspects, such as the Blue Danube Waltz and the Radetsky March. From this year’s recording, the orchestra plays the much-loved Overture to Poet and Peasant by Austrian composer Franz von Suppé who was born Francesco Ezechiele Ermenegildo Suppe.

St. Thomas’ Choir
Photo by Ira Lippke

Saint Thomas Church, Fifth Avenue, New York City, has long enjoyed a splendid tradition of fine singing from its choir of men and boys. In a recently released recording, the Choir sings Gerre Hancock’s setting of one of the canticles sung at Mattins, the Jubilate Deo. Jeremy Filsell conducts the choir. Benjamin Sheen accompanies.

German composer Johannes Brahms composed his two Songs for Voice, Viola and Piano, Op. 91 in 1863 for his friends, Joseph Joachim and his wife Amalie. Joseph played the viola and Amalie was a competent contralto. Matthias Goerne, baritone; Antoine Tamestit, viola, and Cedric Tiberghien, piano, performs the Sacred Lullaby, Op. 91. No. 2 from a new recording entitled Johannes Brahms – Sonatas, Op. 120 on the Harmonia Mundi label.

Ludwig van Beethoven composed his Concerto for Violin, Cello, and Piano in C major, Op. 56 (known as The Triple Concerto) in 1803. Isabelle Faust, violin; Jean-Guihen Queyras, cello; and Alexander Melnikov, piano, are accompanied by the Freiburg Barqoue Orchestra conducted by
Pablo Heras-Casado.

French pianist Bertrand Chamayou found that lullabies were a delightful way to get his young sons to sleep. So he recorded several lullabies on a CD entitled Good Night! We’ll hear selections composed by Mily Balakirev and Sergei Lyapunov.

The cast list of the ensemble Les Vents Francais reads like the “Who’s who” of the international Wind ensemble’s scene.

Les Vents Francaises
Photo by Wolfgang Lienbacher

After listening to the ensemble’s recording Romantique, I heartily concur with the Croatian promotions material for the group. I did not know the August Klughardt Wind quintet that we are playing this evening, but it’s delightful. Quintets by George Onslow and Louis Spohr are the other works on this disc.

Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov’s Piano Concerto in C sharp minor is a mini-concerto. Just under 14 minutes long, it is, however, a superb showcase for the Russian composer’s skills at orchestration. Orion Weiss channels the composer’s intentions with elan and much polish.

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).  From this recording, pianist Tanguy de Williencourt plays François Couperin’s The Mysterious Barricades.

As my eyes scanned this evening’s playlist, they lit up at the sight of Franz Schubert’s String Trio in B flat. I can always count on Schubert to spin a beautiful melody. Members of the Aviv Quartet render a refined performance on a Naxos CD entitled Schubert String Quintet/String Trio.

The Waltz from Sergei Rachmaninoff’s Symphonic Dances receives a highly-nuanced interpretation by the Philadelphia Orchestra under the baton of its brilliant French-Canadian conductor Yannick Nézet-Séguin.

Preview! concludes with the dynamic French guitarist Thibaut Garcia playing Courtly Music after Robert de Visée by Alexandre Tansman. And who might be Robert de Visée. He was a court musician in the employ of Louis XIV King of France. de Visée is generally thought to be the best of French Baroque guitar composers.

Rob Kennedy
April 11, 2021