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Schubert: String Quintet & Quartettsatz by Cypress String Quartet
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New Classical Tracks: A Gift of Time
The Cypress String Quartet is a wonderful ensemble (Gramophone) whose extremely fine playing (Classical Reviewer) has lent itself to music of Dvorák and contemporary Americans on their recordings for AVIE. They now turn to core 19th-century fare, some of the greatest chamber music ever written: Schubert s single-movement Quartettsatz, and the composer s final chamber work, the enduring String Quintet, joined by eminent Canadian cellist Gary Hoffman. The Cypress elegant, clear signature sound lends itself perfectly to these two masterworks.
Dvorak and America by Kevin Deas, Benjamin Pasternack, Zhou Qian, Edmund Battersby, Michael Worfe
New Classical Tracks: Dvorak and America
The centerpiece of this programme is the first ever recording of the Hiawatha Melodrama, a concert work for narrator and orchestra designed to show the kinship between Dvorak’s New World Symphony and Longfellow’s poem The Song of Hiawatha, which Dvorak said had inspired him in the symphony. It takes music from the symphony, as well as passages from the American Suite and Violin Sonatina, and fuses them with the poem, which is recited by a bass-baritone. Also included is music by Arthur Farwell, who was influenced by Dvorak, and was a proponent of Native American music. This recording thus celebrates the crosscurrent of influences between the Czech composer and American music and culture.
Time For Three by Time For Three
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New Classical Tracks: Time for Three
The album showcases not only the trios melody-rich string weave but also its unique flair for collaboration. It was these compelling qualities that led Universal Music Classics to sign the trio as their first U.S. act to their newly branded label. Time For Three features tracks co-produced by Rob Moose from Bon Iver, Grammy-winning producer David Lai, critically acclaimed Steven Hackman and memorable pairings with pop singer-songwriter Joshua Radin, jazz saxophone icon Branford Marsalis, Decca s young cello star Alisa Weilerstein, ukulele ace Jake Shimabukuro, and folk-pop sister duo Lily & Madeleine.
Blanc by Angele Dubeau
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As Heard on Public Radio:
New Classical Tracks: Blanc by Angele Dubeau
Angele Dubeau’s new CD, ‘Blanc’, tells the violinist’s story of her fight against breast cancer. The music and the color it evokes contain messages of healing and hope.
Mendelssohn Adams Violin Concertos by Chad Hoopes
New Classical Tracks: Chad Hoopes
Chad Hoopes - Mendelssohn & Adams Violin Concertos (Naïve Records)
"I’ve always wanted to put Mendelssohn on my first album with orchestra because it’s a piece that I have played since I was so young," says violinist Chad Hoopes. "It was one I loved so much and one I felt I could contribute to the rich legacy that this piece already has to offer."
Violinist Chad Hoopes is 19 years old. He started playing Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto No. 2 in E minor 10 years ago, and he’s just recorded it with Kristjan Jarvi and the Leipzig Radio Symphony Orchestra. Chad was born in Naples, Fla., and he grew up in Minnesota where he was inspired early on by the Minnesota Orchestra. After taking part in the Cleveland Institute of Music’s Young Artist Program, he now studies in Kronberg, Germany.
When it comes to making music, Chad’s primary goal is to develop his own unique character. That’s one reason he paired the Mendelssohn Violin Concerto with one by John Adams. Adams wrote his concerto for Jorja Fleezanis, the former concertmaster of the Minnesota Orchestra, who premiered this work the year Chad was born. “I think people might expect seeing a Mendelssohn and a Tchaikovsky concerto or a Mendelssohn and a Bruch violin concerto on the same album, but I didn’t want to put out another one of those recordings,” Chad explains. “It’s great, but for me it was not so exciting and so I thought to myself maybe something American because I’m American and I felt that was important. And also one of the most important things was to play something from a living composer. To keep music alive and to keep the next generation involved with music, playing music from a living composer is important. So I listened to a few things and listened to the Adams and didn’t fall in love with it at first but thought, ‘You know, this is something that could be really cool.’
"I ordered the score and spent maybe a month looking at it and playing some things and I called my manager and said, ‘Oh, I don’t think it’s possible, I don’t have a strong connection with the piece, it’s incredibly difficult’; I didn’t have hope for it. And my manager said, ‘Well, you know what? You’ve taken the time already. Why don’t you spend one or two more months with the piece, see if anything changes and if not, you’ll have time [to find something else].’ And so I spent those next couple of months looking at this piece and working on it. And I have to say, those two months were critical because I fell in love with the piece and I had this connection with it and it worked." Read More
Beethoven: Complete String Quartets, Vol. 2 by Quartetto di Cremona
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New Classical Tracks: Capturing Beethoven’s futuristic music
Following the successful release of Volume I in the complete edition of Beethoven String Quartets with the ‘Quartetto di Cremona’, audite now continues the series. The choice of works for the second volume refers to two periods during which Beethoven turned away for good from the culture of music amateurs of the late eighteenth century. The Quartets Op. 59 of 1806, commissioned by Count Andrey Kirillovich Razumovsky, were written for Vienna’s most famous professional string quartet, led by Ignaz Schuppanzigh. Beethoven’s musical language is no longer balanced and well-seasoned, as that of his contemporaries, but is extreme in every respect: ruthless and with feeling, dramatically operatic and full of contrapuntal finesse. The ‘Quartetto di Cremona’ contrasts this work from Beethoven’s mature phase with his opus 127 of 1824. It is this work in E flat major with which the already deaf Beethoven began his series of late works, received by his contemporaries with alarm, but by posterity with admiration. For a long time after the dissolution of the ‘Quartetto Italiano’ in the 1980s, no Italian string quartets seemed to come forward to seek international renown. The four young musicians from Genoa, however, who formed the ‘Quartetto di Cremona’ following their studies in the violin making town of Cremona, have revived Italian string quartet playing. Since its foundation in 2000, the ensemble has developed into the best quartet of its country, and also into one of the most prestigious and imaginative quartets within Europe. This status is documented by the audite recording series of the complete Beethoven String Quartets which was started one year ago - a touchstone for all string quartets in its textual dimension, as well as in its technical demands.
Guilty Pleasures by Renee Fleming
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New Classical Tracks: ‘Guilty Pleasures’
KUHF: Renee Fleming
Guilty Pleasures is the long-awaited follow-up to Renees Grammy winner The Beautiful Voice. This album allows Renee to indulge in musical cherry-picking, singing songs and arias in eight different languages. The sheer, unabashed beauty of these pieces provides their thematic connection. Ranging from familiar favorites like the Flower Duet from Lakme (sung with Renees friend Susan Graham) to rapturous, rarely-heard melodies of Tchaikovsky, Dvorak and Rachmaninov, Guilty Pleasures is a collection of treats Renee has long wanted to enjoy: an album of pure gratification. A special treat is an aria from John Coriglianos The Ghosts of Versailles, a twentieth-century American opera that allows Renee the chance to sing in her native language.
Between Worlds by Avi Avital
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Classical MPR: New Classical Tracks: An Instrument Between Worlds
A genre-defying tour of the globe exploring the nexus between classical, popular and traditional music uniquely inhabited by Avi Avital and his magical mandolin.
From Bach to Bluegrass to Balkan Beats, the mandolin is the chameleon of the music world - every culture and musical genre features the mandolin or one of its close relatives - and Avi Avital is this beautiful instruments most charismatic, versatile exponent.
After the success of the Bach recording, Avi returns to again defy expectations with a selection of beautiful melodies and delightful dances from Europe, Central Asia, and the Americas, each with roots in popular folk traditions, arranged by some of the worlds greatest classical composers. The resulting dialogue between North and South, East and West, New and Old, Classical and Traditional - offers a captivating musical journey Between Worlds.
For this journey, Avi is joined by a host of special guests: from music legends such as Richard Galliano and Giora Feidman, to DG stars such as Catrin Finch, accompanied by a hand-picked ensemble of virtuoso friends from around the world. The joy is palpable, the colors and rhythms irresistible.
Repertoire highlights include the popular Monti Czardas, Bachianas Brasilieras (Villa-Lobos), Blochs spiritual Nigun, Spanish, Bulgarian, Romanian, Cuban and Georgian folk dances, and a very special Piazzolla tango.
Dvořák by Alisa Weilerstein
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New Classical Tracks: Starting with a Rice Krispie Box
American cellist Alisa Weilerstein, described by the New York Times as one of the most exciting American cellists of the new generation, follows her critically acclaimed Decca debut recording of Elgars Cello Concerto with a vital new interpretation of Dvoraks Cello Concerto, coupled with some of his best-known melodies. This album captures the essential spirit of one of the greatest of all Romantic composers, reflecting Dvoraks deep-rooted love for his homeland.
Alisa Weilerstein joins forces with the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra and its Czech Music Director, Jiri Bìlohlavek in a terrific and deeply authentic musical partnership. This radiant performance of the Cello Concerto was recorded in Pragues Rudolfinum, where Dvorak himself conducted the Czech Philharmonics inaugural concert in 1896. Other works on the album were recorded in the USA Dvoraks adopted second homeland.
Chopin Etudes by Jan Lisiecki
New Classical Tracks: Jan Lisiecki makes Chopin sing
The incredible Jan Lisiecki performs both cycles of Chopins virtuosic Etudes. This is the second Deutsche Grammophon release from the young Canadian pianist, and his first-ever studio recital album.
Chopins Etudes are among the most challenging and evocative pieces of all the works in the piano repertoire.
Jan Lisiecki has just finished recording the Etudes in the famous Koerner Hall of the Music Conservatory in Toronto. The Royal Conservatory has been involved in the training of many notable artists such as the pianists Glenn Gould and Oscar Peterson.
In 27 Pieces: The Hilary Hahn Encores
Weekend Edition: Hilary Hahn Revives The Classical Encore
New Classical Tracks: In 27 Pieces
First Listen: In 27 Pieces by Hilary Hahn
Soundcheck: Hahn Gives us an Encore
The idea for In 27 Pieces: the Hilary Hahn Encores began to take shape when Hilary noticed that new encore pieces were not being showcased as much as other types of contemporary works. Shorter pieces remain a crucial part of every violinists education and repertoire, and Hilary believed that potential new favorites should be encouraged and performed as well. What is unique about the project, though, is the incredible depth that Hilary Hahn has gone to to discover new works. She explored the music of all the composers before personally contacting them and ran a blind online contest with open submissions to find the 27th composer.
Rachmaninov #3 - Prokofiev #2 by Yuja Wang
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Morning Edition: Rooted in Diligence, Inspired by Improvisation
PBS: Yuja Wang
New Classical Tracks: Yuja Wang & Gustavo Dudamel
NPR: On a Chilly Factory Floor, Yuja Wang’s Piano Sizzles
"Youth, passion and tenacity make Yuja Wang, Gustavo Dudamel and the Simon Bolivar Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela outstanding allies on this new live recording of Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 3 and Prokofiev’s Piano Concerto No. 2." - Julie Amacher, host of New Classical Tracks
Inventions & Sinfonias by Simone Dinnerstein
New Classical Tracks: Thirty Little Masterpieces
Tiny Desk Concert: Simone Dinnerstein
The Diane Rehm Show: Simone Dinnerstein
VPR: Simone Dinnerstein in Studio
Simone Dinnerstein began studying the piano later in life than most concert pianists. She dropped out of Julliard for a while. And she struggled for recognition. Then she scraped together the funds to record Bach’s Goldberg Variations - and her career took off. The album ranked number one on the U.S. Billboard Classical Music chart its first week out. Three subsequent solo albums also topped the charts. Now she’s taking classical music to public schools with a new endeavor she calls “Bachpacking.” Simone Dinnerstein speaks with Diane about her new album and why she’s passionate about sharing her love of Bach.
The Imposter by Bela Fleck
All Things Considered: The Imposter
New Classical Tracks: From Jed Clampett to Bartók
Béla Fleck has always been one to stretch boundaries and explore new musical territory. On this all-new album, Béla gives world-premiere recordings of two original compositions: “The Impostor” and “Night Flight Over Water.”
"The Impostor" is a concerto for banjo and orchestra and is performed with the Nashville Symphony Orchestra and conductor, Giancarlo Guerrero. The recording is taken from live performances in Schermerhorn Symphony Center in Nashville.
"Night Flight Over Water" is a new quintet for banjo and string quartet and here Béla is joined by the American quartet, Brooklyn Rider.
Bach: Sonatas & Partitas by Chris Thile
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A Prairie Home Companion: Bach Sonata No. 1 in G Minor
New Classical Tracks: Chris Thile Plays Bach
Weekend Edition: Chris Thile Looks Back to Bach
Soundcheck: Chris Thile Bach on Mandolin
From Julie Amacher, host of New Classical Tracks -
For Mandolin virtuoso Chris Thile, it is a given that he and his serious musician friends love the music of J.S. Bach.
"I kind of feel like serious musicians are sort of in agreement. There’s Bach and then the arguments start about what else is truly extraordinary.
"And I kind of feel like every musician — they want to rub shoulders with the great man. We all get together and are like, so what Bach are you working on? And people from disciplines that are considered to be pretty far from classical disciplines, they’re like, ‘Well, I was just getting into the gamba sonata’ or whatever it is. And so I think everyone wants to interact with the greatest musician in the world. I’m no exception to that. It was Gould’s second recording of the Goldberg Variations that kind of lit my fire and I haven’t been able to get enough ever since.”
That explains why Chris Thile, who won a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship, or “genius grant,” last year for his adventurous, multifaceted artistry (as both a composer and performer) has just released his first Bach recording. Even though Thile is best known for his progressive bands Nickel Creek and Punch Brothers, he says Bach has been part of his life for a long time. “Yeah, I was 15 when that Gould recording came into my hands via my Grandma Sal. And then my Grandma Celia virtually at the same time gave me a recording of the Brandenburg Concertos. I think my musically inclined relatives saw sort of a glaring Bach-sized hole in my life and sought to fill it at the precisely same moment. So my Great-Aunt Rosie gave me a recording of the Bach Double, and a score. And I loved the music so much that I started teaching myself to read — up to that point, I’d just learned everything by ear.”
The mandolin, Thile says, does bring a fresh perspective to Bach’s sonatas and partitas. “If you put the sonatas and partitas for solo violin in front of someone who really knows music but doesn’t necessarily know the piece, or what it was written for, I don’t think they’d have an easy time saying it was for the violin over the mandolin. I think it could be a toss-up and I think the reason for that is the ease with which the mandolin can produce three- and four-part chords, relative to the violin.
"Bach himself played pretty fast and loose with instrumental issues," Thile adds. "For instance, the G minor Fugue — he actually stole that and gave it to the organ and he also made a lute transcription of it. I don’t think he felt there was anything sacred about the music being performed on the violin. I think it’s beautiful and of course part of Bach’s agenda was to explore the technical capabilities of the instrument and the people playing it. But I do think it lies pretty well on the mandolin and there are arguments to be made for it on the mandolin.” Listening to Thile’s interpretation of Bach’s Sonatas and Partitas on mandolin, the first thing you may notice is the quick tempos and his focused intent behind the rhythm. He says that’s something he picked up from listening to Bach specialist Glenn Gould.
"And so while I don’t think that one should be militant about rhythm, ever, it needs to be about how it feels first and foremost, and I think, God, if you’re not, like, moving to the Gould recordings of theGoldbergs, then you don’t have a pulse. I don’t think that Gould was militant about tempo. I think he was methodic about it, and a lot of times when I listen to recordings of the Bach, I feel like I’m in the backseat of a car by someone who is using the brake incorrectly. I just feel like I’m getting whiplash. I want people to be able to tap their feet and move. The vast majority of the movements — they’re dances. And I feel like you should give people a fighting chance at dancing to them.
"I’ve been re-reading Charles Rosen’s Classical Style, mainly because I don’t think I really understood it at all, the first time. But a great point he makes is about Baroque music’s motor, it just kind of keeps humming. Which is another reason that I think that a pretty constant pulse is really appropriate. If you have a lot of these movements where the action never stops, that’s very fiddle-tune-like.”
Thile says Baroque music and bluegrass do have some key parallels, like the tendency toward two distinctive A and B Parts in their structures.
"Certainly the fugues are really rangey, so they would defy that description," he adds, "And there are lots of exceptions, of course. But I do think that that’s a pretty key similarity. I think of something like the G minor Presto — that’s almost a fiddle tune. And a lot of the pieces, particularly the dance movements — they strike me as being pretty related, and certainly more ambitious structurally than your average fiddle tune. But I do think the very great fiddle tunes can rub shoulders with even some of Bach’s greatest A-B tunes.”
Chris Thile is no stranger to rubbing shoulders with other great musicians, and later this month he will begin a fall tour with cellist Yo-Yo Ma and his other colleagues in the Goat Rodeo Sessions.
Thile is really excited to be reunited with this phenomenal quartet. “So the music is a joy first and foremost. But the hang is unbelievable. I think that’s something people don’t know about Yo-Yo. He is warmth incarnate. And so he just cultivates this beautiful sense of camaraderie in any situation that he puts himself in. And Edgar and Stuart and Aoife and I are the lucky beneficiaries of his proclivities.”
Thile says he learns a lot from these collaborations which he in turn applies to his solo work — like his first volume of partitas and sonatas by Bach.
The Goat Rodeo Sessions: The Goat Rodeo Sessions is an ambitious and groundbreaking project that brings together four string virtuosos: world-renowned cellist Yo-Yo Ma, fiddler Stuart Duncan, bassist Edgar Meyer and mandolinist Chris Thile. While each artist is a prominent figure in his own music sphere, they have come together as a unified ensemble on a most remarkable and organic cross-genre project. The music, including two tracks with female vocalist Aoife O’Donovan, feels both new and familiar it’s composed and improvised, uptown and down home, funky and pastoral and above all, uniquely American.