What’s On Preview! | May 2, 2021

In these unsettled times, as you and I turn to classical music for solace and peace, musicians like pianist Katherine Stott and Yo-Yo Ma have compiled a CD which serves that purpose. They have called it Songs of Comfort and Hope. We’ve heard a couple of tracks on previous programs. Tonight we hear these artists play Erich Wolfgang Korngold’s Marietta’s Lied from his opera The Dead City.

Russian-born and Israeli-raised classical guitarist has a new CD featuring the Bach Violin Sonatas out. We’ll sample the Fugue from Sonata No. 2 in A minor, BWV 1003.

The volume of new recordings of the music of Ludwig van Beethoven released in the last year has reached the flood stage. And it’s all good. This evening we get to enjoy a performance of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 7 in A by the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra with their chief conductor Lahav Shani on the podium.

Josquin des Prez
Charles Gustave Housez

I’ve been a huge fan of the British choral ensemble Stile Antico for many years. They know how to bring early Renaissance music to life. So, it was a thrill to speak with one of the members of Stile Antico, Kate Ashby, a few weeks ago. The group recently released a new CD of the music of Josquin des Prez in honor of the 500th anniversary of his birth. We’ll hear the Sanctus and Benedictus movements of Josquin’s Missa Pange Lingua (Mass “Sing my tongue the glorious battle.”

Perhaps the most ravishing sound I heard this year. Alex Ross, The New Yorker

Another artist who’s made the most of his time in lockdown during the pandemic is violinist Daniel Hope. Hope and pianist Jacques Ammon play  Après un rêve by Gabriel Fauré from Hope@Home, a recording of a live concert he presented from his living room in Berlin.

Lithuanian Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla is the Music Director of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra. Her path to that important position included being a Gustavo Dudamel Fellow at the Los Angeles Philharmonic, among several other significant appointments. We’ll hear her with the CBSO performing Sir William Walton’s Symphonic Suite, Troilus and Cressida.

Sergei Rachmaninoff’s Symphony No. 2 in E minor languished in the “Don’t Play File” of most orchestra’s music libraries after its first performance in 1908. It only reappeared on programs in the 70s. And often, when it did turn up, it was so heavily edited that its hour-long score only lasted about 35 minutes. The Adagio shows the great Russian master at his emotional best. Sir Simon Rattle and the London Symphony Orchestra imbue the solos and the powerful, heart-throbbing climaxes of this gorgeous movement with enormous sensitivity on this recording on the LSO Live label.

Rob Kennedy
May 2, 2021