For the Record, Op. 236: María Dueñas; Nadia Sirota; Chiaroscuro Quartet

May 9, 2023, 4:33 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!

María Dueñas
Violinist María Dueñas. Photo by Felix Broede.

Beethoven and Beyond
María Dueñas, violin
Wiener Symphoniker, Manfred Honeck conducting

"You can’t rely on virtuosity in Beethoven’s concerto; you have to reveal yourself," said Spanish violinist María Dueñas, "and that can only be done through sound." The concerto was recorded live during a recent run of three acclaimed performances at Vienna’s Musikverein with the Wiener Symphoniker and Manfred Honeck, and it includes her own newly written cadenzas for each movement. The album also includes showpieces for violin and orchestra by Kreisler, Saint-Saëns, Spohr, Wieniawski, and Ysaÿe. And students of the violin will enjoy this: Dueñas also has recorded a companion disc of cadenzas written for the first movement of the Beethoven by those same five composers. María Dueñas plays the Nicolò Gagliano violin of 17?4, loaned by the Deutsche Stiftung Musikleben, and the Stradivarius “Camposelice” of 1710, on loan from the Nippon Music Foundation. BELOW: María Dueñas about her album:

Nadia Sirota, viola
Rob Moose, violin
Gabriel Cabezas, cello
Alex Sopp, flute/voice
Hideaki Aomori, bass clarinet
CJ Camerieri, trumpet

Violist Nadia Sirota is a singular talent in the world of classical music. She won a 2015 Peabody Award for her podcast Meet The Composer and from 2018-2022 she served as the New York Philharmonic’s Creative Partner. In this album, Nadia features a fresh, bold adventure into group composition. The lead single "Zebra" is, per The NY Times, “a minimalistic but eventful romp” that “makes the most of its three-and-a-half minutes." BELOW: "Zebras"

Joseph Haydn, Op. 33 "Russian" Quartets Nos. 1-3
Chiaroscuro Quartet
Alina Ibragimova, Violin, Anselmo Bellosio, ca. 1780
Pablo Hernán Benedí, Violin, Andrea Amati, 1570
Emilie Hörnlund, Viola, Willems, ca. 1700
Claire Thirion, Cello, Carlo Tononi, 1720

"Chiaroscuro" – light-dark – is the Baroque painting technique, which through the contrast of the brightly-lit subject against a dark background immensely heightens the artist’s power of expression. With gut strings and original bows, the Chiaroscuro Quartet strives for a sound which can only be hinted at by the antithesis of light and dark alone; a sound expressing every conceivable nuance between tenderness and aggression, radiance and pallor, lively passion and cool sobriety. BELOW: String Quartet in B Minor, Op. 33 No. 1: II. Scherzo

If you have a new recording you would like us to consider for inclusion in our "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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