Welcome to "For the Record," Violinist.com'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!
After 47 years of award-winning music-making, the Emerson String Quartet will disband in October 2023 - this is their final album, evoking the lifelong journey for the four musicians and their lasting friendship with soprano, Barbara Hannigan. Joined by pianist Bertrand Chamayou, the record features Schoenberg's Quartet No. 2 for soprano and string quartet alongside works by Hindemith, Berg, and Chausson's Chanson perpétuelle. "What unifies these stylistically disparate works is the expression of unfulfilled, perhaps unfulfillable yearning, as well as the composers’ absolute commitment to their aesthetic ideals. This has been an inspiring musical journey for all of us," said violinist Eugene Drucker. "It’s a tall, gnarly tree to climb (all the way to another planet, it seems), yet one with deep and emotional roots," said Hannigan. “The soprano’s fin-de-siècle primal scream at the end of the 3rd movement, begging to be relieved of love, is a heavy hitter." BELOW: String Quartet No. 2, Op. 10: III. Litanei. Langsam.
This is some pretty sublime playing...Turkish pianist and composer Fazil Say is joined by his long-standing friend, the violinist Friedemann Eichhorn, in an album of mid-19th-century German repertoire. Influenced by Liszt, Say’s ingenious transcriptions of the Prelude and Liebestod from Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde are heard here in world premiere recordings. The composite F–A–E Sonata of Dietrich, Schumann and Brahms is also recorded as a whole, while Schumann’s Violin Sonata No. 1, though written at a time of unhappiness, contains moments of glorious beauty and intimacy. BELOW: "Liebestod" from Wagner's Tristan und Isolde, WWV 90, arranged for Violin & Piano by Fazil Say.
This album celebrates long-standing friendships between a circle of musicians who represent a multiplicity of musical identities: Syrian clarinetist and composer Kinan Azmeh, Grammy-nominated string quartet Brooklyn Rider, and multi-percussionist Mathias Kunzli. "The combination of clarinet and string quartet...allows the discourse between similar instruments (the string quartet) to be elevated by the addition of this singular voice," Jacobsen said. "One can imagine our combination of Brooklyn Rider and Kinan Azmeh as cave spelunkers, with the clarinet as a torch lighting the way. Mathias Kunzli's percussion further brings a sense of the structure of the cave, of the sound of our heartbeat as we explore and the rhythm of the planet spinning on its axis." The music has references to classical music, jazz, middle eastern music, contemporary minimalism and much more. BELOW: "Starlighter," from a live performance in May 2019.
Celebrated arts activist and political advisor, 2005 MacArthur "Genius Grant" Fellow and founder of the Sphinx Organization, Aaron Dworkin recites poetry a number of themes, including African-American history, arts and culture, poetry from women, mental health and wellness, and childhoood. The title, "The Poetjournalist," is a term Dworkin coined in which a news story or other experience is expressed in poetic form, incorporating elements of emotion, opinion, and creative illustration. He developed this process during his role as poetjournalist-in-residence at a variety of institutions, including the Rodham Institute, Charles H. Wright Museum of African-American History, Ovation TV, Complexions Contemporary Dance Company, Shar Music and the Max M. and Marjorie S. Fisher Foundation. BELOW: "My First Teacher":
This album includes three recent works by 2019 Guggenheim Fellow Samuel Carl Adams, two of which are world premiere recordings. The title work, Current, (world premiere recording), scored for string quartet and resonating snare drums, is performed by the Spektral Quartet, which co-commissioned the piece with Cal Performances; this album marks one of the group’s last projects as an ensemble. Bookending that large-scale work are Violin Diptych (world premiere recording), performed by violinist Karen Gomyo and pianist Conor Hanick, and Shade Studies, a piano solo performed by Hanick with electronics. Current is available for pre-order here.BELOW: Samuel Adams: String Quartet No. 2 "Current" - II. fast, quiet, building.
This is a world-premiere recording of composer Leonard Bernstein’s long-lost "Music for String Quartet," composed by an 18-year-old Bernstein during his studies at Harvard. The piece has been steadfastly shepherded from its re-discovery to this historic release by former Boston Symphony Orchestra Librarian John Perkel, and is performed here by Lucia Lin, Natalie Rose Kress, Danny Kim, and Ronald Feldman. "Movement I" and the newly-discovered "Movement II," which was found within the U.S Library of Congress, are accompanied here by the seldom-recorded duo piece "Elegies for Violin and Viola" by composer Aaron Copland, a musical mentor, collaborator, and dear friend of Bernstein’s. BELOW: Bernstein's "Music for String Quartet:: I. Allegro vivace.
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