What’s On Preview! | May 16, 2021

The noted musicologist, Dr. Rebecca Cypess, begins Preview! this week with a performance of Luigi Boccherini’s Sonata for Violin and Harpsichord. This is from Dr. Cypess’ latest CD, In the Salon of Madame Brillon: Music and Friendship in Benjamin Franklin’s Paris⏤”another album from Rebecca Cypess and the Raritan Players that showcases the rediscovery of women in music history.”

You and I know Austrian composer Anton Bruckner (1824-1896) as the great symphonist. But he got

Sir Stephen Cleobury
Photo by Benjamin Ealovega

his start as an organist. Indeed it was not until he was in his forties that he began to write the music for which he is best-known. The motet Locus Iste dates from 1869 and was composed for the dedication of a chapel in the Cathedral in Linz where Bruckner had served as organist. The Choir of King’s College, Cambridge, sings Locus iste for us in one of the last recordings made by the Choir before the retirement of its Director, the late Sir Stephen Cleobury. You can hear Rob Kennedy speak with Sir Stephen on our Conversations With Conductors page.

Russian composer Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov’s most popular work is his symphonic poem Scheherazade. Vasily Petrenko conducts the Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra in a performance of The Young Prince and Young Princess from that colorfully-orchestrated composition.

Canadian violinist James Ehnes plays the Sonata No. 10 in G, Op. 96 by Ludwig van Beethoven. Beethoven composed this work in 1812 the same time when he was composing his 7th and 8th symphonies. Andrew Armstrong accompanies James on this CD which contains Sonatas No. 7 and 10.

This week’s interview features Rob Kennedy speaking with lutenist Ron MacFarlane and viol da gamba player Carolyn Surrick about their new recording entitled Fermi’s Paradox.

What did these two talented early music specialists do when the live performances suddenly stopped in the spring of 2020? They record, of course. Ron MacFarlane and Carolyn Surrick play some of their favorite pieces, including Little Martha, a song originally made famous by the Allman Brothers back in the 70s.

The Academy for Old Music Berlin plays Mozart’s Serenade No. 11 in E flat from its recording on the Harmonia Mundi label.

On earlier Preview! programs, we’ve aired a couple of tracks from English pianist Benjamin Grosvenor’s CD Liszt. This evening we’ll him play Reminiscences from Bellini’s ‘Norma’. In the days before recordings, virtuoso musicians such as Franz Liszt would create a compilation of arias and themes from popular operas of the day. A precursor to our Top 100 playlists?

Sharon Isbin
Photo by J. Henry Fair

Speaking of Top 100 lists, Leo Brouwer’s Le Decameron Negro hit the Top 100 back in 2012. Enrique Robichaud writing in Classical Guitar Stop says: “Lasting around 15 minutes El Decamerón negro tells a story, the story of a great warrior being rejected because he wanted to be a mere musician. He lives alone in the mountains, separated from his clan and more cruelly from the princess he loves. Later, the clan, losing battle upon battle, finds the warrior turned musician and begs him to come back. After defeating the enemy, he returns to his peaceful life in the mountains with the princess at his side.” Sharon Isbin plays Le Decameron Negro which was dedicated to her. It is one of the works on her CD Affinity. You can listen to our interview with Sharon on our Conversation With Instrumentalists page.

We close Preview! this week with a new recording on the Analekta label of Frederic Chopin’s Preludes Opus 28. Canadian pianist Charles-Richard Hamelin interprets the 24 preludes which were inspired by Johann Sebastian Bach’s Well-tempered Clavier.

The young pianist’s strength, splendour and sense for emphasis were equally captivating as his enormous ability to convey dream, poetry and longing. — Harald Eggebrecht, Süddeutsche Zeitung, Munich (Deutschland)

Rob Kennedy
May 16, 2021