What’s On Preview! | April 18, 2021

Musicians have struggled with their vastly changed circumstances driven by the pandemic. In-person concerts and studio recording sessions virtually disappeared. But musicians are a creative, resourceful lot. Taiwanese-Australian Ray Chen dealt with the restrictions of the pandemic by building a professional-grade studio at home. Solace, his new album of music by Johann Sebastian Bach, was recorded in that venue.

From a CD entitled Haydn-Mozart-Bartok the Paris-based Modigliani Quartet offers a refined interpretation of one of Josef Haydn’s last quartets, the String Quartet in D minor Op. 76 No. 2. It is known as”Quinten” or “Fifths” because of the falling perfect fifths in the first movement.

“One of today’s best quartets in the world…Balance, transparency, symphonic comprehension, confident style, their performance reached a very high and inspiring level ” Harald Eggbrecht in Süddeutsche Zeitung

Benjamin Grosvenor
Photo by Patrick Allen and Opera Omnia

The brilliant English pianist Benjamin Grosvenor plays Franz Liszt’s arrangement of Franz Schubert’s much-loved Ave Maria from his CD on the Decca label, Benjamin Grosvenor – Liszt. Liszt actually composed four versions of the Ave Maria. He also arranged the versions composed by Franz Schubert and Renaissance composer Jacques Arcadelt.

The viola gets a turn in the spotlight this evening on Preview! Antoine Tamestit plays Johannes Brahms’ Viola Sonata, Opus 120, No. 1, in a recent release on the Harmonia Mundi label. The two Viola Sonatas which comprise Opus 120 were composed in 1894 for the clarinet. Brahms later adapted them for the viola. Cedric Tiberghien accompanies.

Blue Heron is one of Boston’s finest early music choral ensembles. Set aside any thoughts that early music is dry and dull. Scott Metcalfe leads his talented singers in vibrant, exciting performances of madrigals and motets in the group’s latest release A 14th-century Salmagundi. He chatted with Rob Kennedy about the challenges of interpreting Renaissance music.

The 24 Caprices composed by virtuoso violinist Niccolo Paganini date from the early 1800s. Russian violinist Alina Ibragimova plays Op. 1, No. 22 in F and No. 24 in A minor from a CD on the Hyperion label.

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart composed his Piano Concerto No. 20 in D minor in 1785 and was the soloist at the first performance in Vienna. French pianist Hélène Grimaud performs accompanied by Camerata Salzburg in a recording on the Deutsche Grammaphon label.

Russian violinist Igor Ruhadze plays a violin made by Carlo Tononi in Bologna in 1705 on this recording of concerti by French Baroque composer Jean-Marie Leclair. We’ll hear the Concerto in F, Op. 7, No. 4. The Ensemble Violini Capricciosi accompanies.

Imagine yourself back in the days before sound recordings. Often the only way music lovers could enjoy a Beethoven symphony was to hear it played as a piano four-hands arrangement. Martha Argerich and Theodosia Ntoku play Selmar Bagge’s arrangement of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 6 in F, “The Pastoral” to bring this evening’s program to a close.

Rob Kennedy
April 18, 2021