What’s On Preview! | April 25, 2021

The Academy for Old Music Berlin (also known as Akamus) opens Preview! this week with a performance of Carl Philip Emmanuel Bach’s Symphony in G, Wq 183,4 which dates from his time in Berlin in the 1770s. This is from their new CD Beethoven/C.P.E. Bach on the Harmonia Mundi label. The pairing of Beethoven and C.P.E. Bach on this recording is not coincidental. Sources tell us that Beethoven admired C.P.E. Bach’s compositions. Both composers were taking music in exciting new directions.

Marc-André Hamelin
Photo by Fran Kaufman

Canadian pianist Marc-André Hamelin offers an electrifying interpretation of Franz Liszt’s Réminiscences de Norma de Bellini – Grande fantaisie S394. Liszt & Thalberg: Opera Transcriptions & Fantasies was released in September 2020 on the Hyperion label.

Imagine the scene at the first performance of Robert Schumann’s Piano Quintet in E flat. His brilliant pianist wife Clara was set to do the premier but fell ill. Not a problem! Their friend Felix Mendelssohn filled in for Clara and sight-read the score at the premiere. Trio Wanderer, a Paris-based trio is joined by Christophe Gaugué, viola, and Catherine Montier, violin to perform Schumann’s Piano Quintet in E flat, Opus 44.

Montenegran guitarist Miloš Karadaglić, sometimes known as just Miloš, has a new recording out. Following an interview with Elizabeth Elliott, Miloš plays The Forest by Howard Shore. He’s accompanied by the National Arts Centre Orchestra of Canada conducted by Alexander Shelley.

MILOŠ says, “It has long been my wish to challenge composers to write for the classical guitar, particularly with regards to the concerto repertoire. For centuries, this instrument has touched many people around the world and yet its repertoire remains very much underrepresented in the classical mainstream. It is exactly this that inspired me to seek new ideas and approach Joby and Howard in the first place. The Moon & the Forest, with two brand new concertos that I adore and can humbly call my own, is my personal fairytale come true.”

Recently, Elizabeth Elliott interviewed renowned violinist Hilary Hahn about her album Paris. Hilary tells the story behind Finnish composer Einojuhani Rautavaara’s Deux Serenades.

“Paris,” says Hahn, “is about expression, it’s about emotion, it’s about feeling connected to a city and a cultural intersection, in a way that’s inspiring for the player and the listener. It has Parisian threads all the way through it. But it’s also a big reference to the arc of my career. I’ve been playing in Paris since I was a teenager.”

Composers rarely leave their compositions alone after completing them. They’re always revising. And so it was with the Andante movement of Anton Bruckner’s Symphony No. 2 in C minor. It was originally the third movement and titled Adagio. In his 1877 revision, Bruckner made it the second movement. Andris Nelsons conducts the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra in a performance recorded on the Deutsche Grammaphon label.

Peter Tchaikovsky’s Sérénade mélancolique in B-flat minor for violin and orchestra, Op. 26 immediately preceded his Piano Concerto No. 1, also in the key of B flat minor. Virgil Boutellis-Taft performs with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra directed by Jac van Steen.

Formed in the summer of 2003 by François-Xavier Roth, Les Siècles comprises outstanding young players pooled from the very finest French ensembles. Roth’s founding ambition was for his orchestra to offer a new approach, not only to repertoire but also to the nature of the concert form.

I think Les Siècles has risen to the occasion in this compelling performance of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 3. What do you think?

Rob Kennedy
April 25, 2021