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For the Record, Op. 167: Christian Li; Jennifer Koh; Spektral Quartet

August 26, 2021, 4:12 PM · Welcome to "For the Record,"'s weekly roundup of new releases of recordings by violinists, violists, cellists and other classical musicians. We hope it helps you keep track of your favorite artists, as well as find some new ones to add to your listening!

Christian Li
Violinist Christian Li. Photo by Albert Comper.

The Four Seasons
Christian Li, violin
Melbourne Symphony Orchestra chamber ensemble

Born in Melbourne in 2007, Christian Li started playing violin at age five and came to international attention in 2018 as the youngest-ever winner in the Junior Division of the Menuhin Competition, winning the joint First Prize. In those competition finals, he performed "Summer" from Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, which is featured in this recording. Vivaldi's music is "dramatic, warm and poetic," Li said. "I can use the music to tell the poems’ storylines.” His favorite is "Autumn," particularly its final movement: "It has lots of action and excitement. The music depicts hunters on horseback chasing down a stag. You can hear horns, you can hear dogs, you can hear guns firing, and all of these effects are made on the instruments." Li performs on the 1737 ex-Paulsen Guarneri del Gesù violin and studies with Robin Wilson at the Australian National Academy of Music in Melbourne. BELOW: Li talks about his new album:

Alone Together
Jennifer Koh, violin
Here is the album based on violinist Jennifer Koh's online performance series, "Alone Together," created in response to the coronavirus pandemic and the financial hardship it placed on so many artists and musicians. The album includes a collection of 40 works -- 20 composers, most of whom have salaried positions or other forms of institutional support to carry them through this challenging time, agreed to donate a new, 30-second micro-work for solo violin, while also each recommending a fellow freelance composer to write their own 30-second solo violin work on paid commission from the artist-driven nonprofit ARCO Collaborative. BELOW: Jennifer Koh describes the project:

Spektral Quartet

Inspired in part by the 2017 solar eclipse, "Enigma" is a new work for string quartet to be performed in full-dome planetarium theaters, featuring music by Icelandic composer Anna Thorvaldsdottir and video art by Sigurdur Gudjonsson, also of Iceland. "Enigma" is a co-commission of Spektral Quartet, Carnegie Hall, and Washington Performing Arts.

If you have a new recording you would like us to consider for inclusion in our Thursday "For the Record" feature, please e-mail Editor Laurie Niles. Be sure to include the name of your album, a link to it and a short description of what it includes.

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August 27, 2021 at 07:10 AM · What a pleasure to see and hear such a fresh and intelligent young talent, wonderful!

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