Howard Hanson is one of America's great mid-century composers. His music, like that of Roy Harris, draws its character from the plains, from the pioneer blood that settled that part of the country. Here we have two major symphonies, a piano concerto, and a tone-poem, "Mosaics". These works are at the heart of American Romanticism; his melodies are distinct and tonal, his writing formal.
Starting the second half of our great Beethoven series, Boris Berezovsky returns with the Fourth Piano Concerto and Beethoven's own version of the Violin Concerto arranged with the piano as the solo instrument. Boris's earlier contributions to the series have been very well received indeed, and the Russian virtuoso has more up his sleeve. The works on this seventh volume in this series originates from a particularly fruitful time in Beethoven"s career as a composer, around the same time as his fourth and fifth symphony and the Razumovsky quartets. He continues to expand the formal boundaries for the concerto, and the result is of course some of the most fantastic music ever written.
Paul Lewis performed all the Beethoven piano sonatas on tour in the USA and Europe between the 2005 and 2007 seasons, in parallel with his complete recording of the cycle for Harmonia Mundi. His interpretation of the Lizst sonata was distinguished by the prestigious Edison Award, while his recording of the complete Beethoven sonatas received two Gramophone Awards in 2008.
This set is a remarkable bargain, containing all of Brahms's solo piano music, including such chips from his workshop as cadenzas for other composers' concertos and a series of strictly mechanical piano studies that nobody will want to listen through. No matter. Idil Biret has a firm grasp of Brahms's idiom, and she plays with insight and passion throughout the set. Although she doesn't startle with her virtuosity, she handles the considerable technical demands of the music with great confidence.
As a musician, as a man of ideals, and as a true world citizen, Yehudi Menuhin made an extraordinary mark on his era. The Menuhin Century commemorates the 100th anniversary of his birth on 22 April 1916. Live Performances and Festival Recordings captures Menuhin in action in the concert hall and in collaboration with two orchestras he founded, the Menuhin Festival Orchestra and the Bath Festival Orchestra.