What’s On Preview! | June 6, 2021

From his CD on the Decca Classics label, the brilliant young British pianist, Benjamin Grosvenor plays Three Sonnets of Petrarch from Years of Pilgrimage: The Second Year — Italy. Describing these monumental piano pieces, Liszt himself explains his rationale for composing them: ” I have tried to portray in music a few of my strongest sensations and most lively impressions.”

The playing from the Oslo Philharmonic is flawless. Leighton Jones in The Classic Review

The tale of the Arabian Nights continues to fascinate hundreds of years after it was written. Russian composer Nickolai Rimsky-Korsakov creates an exotic soundscape with the music for Scheherazade, a great favorite of our listeners. Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Vasily Petrenko performs The Young Prince and the Young Princess from Scheherazade, Op. 35. This is from a CD on the Lawo label which also includes Capriccio Espagnol and the Russian Easter Festival Overture.

Composers write art songs or lieder for all sorts of reasons. Brahms wrote Gestillte Sehnsucht” (Stilled Longing) in the hopes that it would save the marriage of his friends Amalie and Joseph Joachim. Alas, the marriage crumbled. Fortunately, the same cannot be said of Brahms’ superb writing. Baritone Matthias Goerne, baritone sings it for us accompanied by Antoine Tamestit, viola and Cedric Tiberghien, piano. This is from a CD on the Harmonia Mundi label.

We are always pleased when a musician in our generation rescues the music of a composer from another century. It’s like finding a long-forgotten treasure in a dusty attic. So it is with pianist Ian Hobson and his new recording of the piano music of Moritz Moszkowski (1854-1925). Ian shines a 21st-century light on the piano music of the Polish composer who taught Sir Thomas Beecham orchestration and married Cecile Chaminade’s sister. The CD is entitled Moritz Moszkowski: Piano Music, Vol. 1 and was released by Toccata Classics.

Cavatina Duo
Photo courtesy of Assai Arts

Flutist Eugenia Moliner and guitarist Denis Azabagic are the Cavatina Duo. While they are comfortable with and adept at playing the mainstays of the chamber music repertoire, they are also very clever at bringing the music of lesser-known composers to the fore. After I chat with them about their CD The Balkan Project on the Cedille Records label, they will play Four Macedonian Pieces by Miroslav Tadic (1958-).

Ralph Vaughan Williams’s tip of the musical hat to his distinguished predecessor, Thomas Tallis is a perennial listener favorite here at The Classical Station. The London Symphony Orchestra plays Vaughan Williams’s Fantasia on a Theme of Thomas Tallis. Sir Antonio Pappano conducts on a CD from the London Symphony’s own label.

Harpsichordist Dr. Rebecca Cypess and violinist Dongmyung Ahn style themselves The Raritan Players. They play Luigi Boccherini’s Sonata for Harpsichord and Violin in D, Op. 5d no. 4, on a recording entitled In the Salon of Madame Brillon on the Acis label release earlier this year.

The Kansas City Symphony and Michael Stern have a new CD out called One Movement Symphonies. We’ll hear Jean Sibelius’ Symphony No. 7 in C, Op. 105, one of his final major compositions.

Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra and Andris Nelsons offer their take on another listener favorite, Richard Wagner’s Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg: Prelude, Act 1, on a new Deutsche Grammaphon release which has Bruckner’s Symphonies 2 and 8 in addition to the afore-mentioned Wagner.

We conclude Preview! this evening with the effervescence of Leonard Bernstein’s Symphonic Dances from West Side Story. Zurich Symphony Orchestra conducted by James Gaffigan performs on this CD released by Harmonia Mundi.

Rob Kennedy
June 6, 2021