What’s On Preview! | July 25, 2021

Charles Richard-Hamelin
Photo by Elizabeth Delage

Canadian pianist Charles-Richard Hamelin (1959-) opens Preview! with the gorgeous yet technically demanding Andante Spianato & Grand Polonaise in E flat, Op. 22, by Frédéric Chopin. This performance of the solo piano version of this work was released on the Analekta label.

Lithuanian conductor Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla recently signed an exclusive contract with Deutsche Grammophon. She conducts the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra in a performance of Sir Edward Elgar’s Sospiri, Op. 70, a work scored for strings, harp, and organ. The CD on the DG label is entitled Mirga Grazinyte-Tyla: The British Project.

Canadian violinist James Ehnes plays the Sonata No. 4 in E minor for solo violin by Belgian composer and violin virtuoso Eugène-Auguste Ysaÿe. It’s on a CD entitled James Ehnes Ysaye Sonatas for Solo Violin on the Onyx label.

Rachel Podger is one of the musical world’s leading early music specialists. I was most fortunate to interview her earlier this year when she came across the pond to do some workshops and seminars at The Julliard School. We will listen to her premiere recording of a Fragment of a Sonata in B flat for Violin and Piano by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, completed by British musician and educator Timothy Jones.

Lewis brought his customary intelligence and intensity…with endless shifts in colour and weight. The fearsome technical demands…were met with unshowy dexterity. Tim Ashley, The Guardian

English pianist Paul Lewis says of Ludwig van Beethoven’s Bagatelles: “In this small form par excellence, as in the sonata, Beethoven laid the foundations for a flourishing new genre, the piano miniature. Whether they last a few minutes or a few seconds, these Bagatelles are masterpieces!” This evening he plays the eleven Bagatelles of Opus 119. You can hear Paul discuss this recording Beethoven — Fur Elise, Bagatelles Opp. 33, 119 & 126 on the Harmonia Mundi label in an interview that we recorded on June 8, 2020.

Our interview this week features Abi Fayette, a member of the Catalyst Quartet that has embarked on Uncovered, a project to record the music of many hitherto unknown composers of African origin. Volume 1 includes the music of English composer Samuel Coleridge-Taylor (1875–1912). On his American tours in the early 1900s, Coleridge-Taylor impressed white New York musicians who referred to him as the “African Mahler.” While those comments may sound disingenuous nowadays, they were evidence of the high esteem in which Coleridge-Taylor’s music was held. The Catalyst Quartet joined by clarinetist Anthony McGill plays Samuel Coleridge-Taylor’s Clarinet Quintet in F sharp minor, Op. 1. The CD is on the Azica label.

The Academy for Old Music Berlin (also known as Akamus) plays the 4th movement (Menuetto, Allegretto) from Serenade No. 10 in B flat (for winds), K. 361 “Gran Partita” by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. This is from their new CD Mozart: Gran Partita/Wind Serenades on the Harmonia Mundi label.

Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla and the City of Birmingham Symphony return to play a great favorite of The Classical Station’s listeners, Ralph Vaughan Williams’ Fantasia on a Theme of Thomas Tallis. Maestra Gražinytė-Tyla’s predecessors are a distinguished lot, including Adrian Boult, Louis Frémaux, Andris Nelsons, and Simon Rattle.

Speaking of Simon Rattle, he conducts the London Symphony Orchestra as they accompany pianist Krystian Zimerman in a performance of Ludwig van Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 2 in B flat, Op. 19. Deutsche Grammophon released this recording earlier in 2021.

Verona Quartet
Photo ⓒ Dario Acosta

The Verona Quartet has been featured in the Chamber Orchestra of the Triangle’s 2020-2021 concert series. My colleague Elizabeth Elliott interviewed them about their work and musical activities. This evening they bring Preview! to a close with their performance of Maurice Ravel’s only string quartet, the String Quartet in F. This exquisite quartet dates from 1903 and is often compared with Claude Debussy’s only string quartet. Azica released this CD earlier in 2021.

Rob Kennedy
July 25, 2021