For the Record, Op. 229: Stella Chen, Sandy Cameron, Ning Feng, Tippett Quartet, Rebecca Scout Nelson, Esmé Quartet

March 10, 2023, 1:31 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!

Stella Chen
Violinist Stella Chen. Photo by Luke Ratray.

Stella x Schubert
Stella Chen, violin
Henry Kramer, piano

"My love for Schubert blossomed unexpectedly during a performance analysis class with Robert Levin," said violinist Stella Chen, who was Grand Prize Winner of the 2019 Queen
Elisabeth International Violin Competition. "Known as he is for his encyclopedic knowledge of Mozart, Levin surprised me when he revealed that his favorite piece was Schubert’s G Major Quartet, D. 887. He spoke about the music in a way that brought tears to my eyes, despite having never heard the piece myself. For me, no composer conceives of more beautiful melodies than Schubert’s, in large part due to his extraordinary ability to translate vulnerability into music. Exposed, devastatingly fragile, almost otherworldly, his music teeters precariously on the brink of life and death." BELOW: Trailer for the album.

Danny Elfman: Violin Concerto, Eleven Eleven
Sandy Cameron, violin
Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, JoAnn Falletta conducting

Danny Elfman’s violin concerto, Eleven Eleven, has its roots in the composer's rock, film and television background, but also illustrates his love for the music of Shostakovich and Prokofiev in a violin concerto noir that is haunting and compelling. It was written for Sandy Cameron, who is the soloist on this recording of an October 2020 performance with Falletta and the BPO. BELOW: Violin Concerto, "Eleven Eleven": II. Spietato.

Brahms Violin Sonatas
Ning Feng, violin
Zee Zee, piano

"Ever since I first heard them on a recording, I fell in love with them," said Ning Feng. "After performing them myself many, many times over the past 20 years, I have learned to appreciate the beauty of the lyrical melodies even more and more deeply understand the musical philosophy of this great composer." BELOW: Violin Sonata No. 2 in A Major, Op. 100: I. Allegro amabile

Korngold: String Quartets 1–3
Tippett Quartet
John Mills, violin
Jeremy Isaac, violin
Lydia Lowndes-Northcott, viola
Bozidar Vukotic, cello

Erich Wolfgang Korngold (1897–1957) wrote a significant body of chamber music, and his three String Quartets come from different compositional periods. The First marries impetuousness with enticing harmonies and rapt eloquence. The Second, dating from 1933, is notable for its clarity, rhythmic impetus and melodic directness. The Third, from the post-war period, is more relaxed, unexpectedly juxtaposing the archaic and modern with a joyful conclusion. BELOW: Excerpts from the recording of this album:

Do Not Lament
Rebecca Scout Nelson, violin, vocals

"Do Not Lament" intersperses violinist Rebecca Scout Nelson's original songs and instrumentals with her own arrangements of music by Purcell and others. Inspired by the tragic death of her younger sister, the album tells a powerfully personal story of love, loss and grief. Featuring Nelson and friends on vocals, Baroque violin, viola da gamba, theorbo, harpsichord and other period instruments. Embracing a range of musical styles, the album is bound together by a narrative arc that traces grief’s slow trajectory from despair to hope. As Nelson puts it, "joy increases throughout, as you find the willpower to go forward." BELOW: Je voudrois bien, ô Cloris

Yessori: Sound from the Past
Esmé Quartet
Wonhee Bae, violin
Yuna Ha, violin
Jiwon Kim, viola
Yeeun Heo, cello

"Yessori," written by South Korean composer Soo Yeon Lyuh, was commissioned by the Kronos Quartet in 2016 as part of its "Fifty for the Future" project, scored for string quartet and the traditional two-string Korean instrument known as the haegeum. This marks the world premiere recording of the version for string quartet alone. The Esme´ Quartet, all four of whose members are from South Korea, won first prize and four special prizes, including the Mozart and Beethoven prizes, at the 2018 International String Quartet Competition at London’s Wigmore Hall.

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