Violinist Joshua Bell and cellist Steven Isserlis are joined by two acclaimed musical forces - pianist Jeremy Denk and the Academy of St Martin in the Fields, of which Bell is Music Director – in a landmark joint recording, For the Love of Brahms (Sony Classical). Available September 30, 2016, the new album is a unique project that features works of Brahms and Schumann that Bell calls “music about love and friendship.” Bell, Isserlis and Denk unite here in Brahms’s first published chamber work, the Piano Trio in B Major, Op. 8 in its rarely performed original 1854 version. Isserlis also joins Bell – as violin soloist and director – and the Academy of St Martin in the Fields in Brahms’s last orchestral work, the celebrated Double Concerto (for Violin and Cello) in A Minor, Op. 102. Bell, Isserlis and members of the Academy also offer the first recording of an unusual coupling: the slow movement of Schumann’s rarely heard Violin Concerto, in a version for string orchestra made by Benjamin Britten, who also added a short coda.
There are many anthologies of late nineteenth and early twentieth century English music available but this collection from Decca is one of the finest. Neville Marriner directs the Academy of St Martins-in-the-Fields in a programme of popular favourites and lesser known works collected from a number of LP's recorded between 1968 and 1981. The late analogue Decca sound is superb and the orchestra and conductor are totally in tune with the music.
Håkan Hardenberger has earned a reputation of breaking new ground for the trumpet, commissioning works from the world’s foremost composers. On this disc, he shows a different side to himself in arrangements of his favourite songs and film themes.
Most French operas from the middle of the 19-th century included ballets, as a lightweight intermezzo amidst the highly dramatic action of the opera. Jules Massenet was especially successful in the genre, and his ballet suites from his operas have surpassed the operas themselves in popularity. This CD contains the delightful and colourful suites from Le Cid,Thais and Cendrillon, evoking the atmosphere of the respective stories and fairytales of the operas.
Sir Neville Marriner leads his Academy of St. Martin-in-the-Fields in a blockbuster recording of eight of Franz von Suppé's exciting overtures. From the more famous ones, such as Light Cavalry and Morning, Noon, and Night in Vienna, to lesser known works, this CD is full of unforgettable melodies and suberb playing.
Tchaikovsky's Serenade for Strings is one of these works many conductors get it wrong in interpretation, therefore surprisingly few recordings for such a masterpiece. Stokowski and Bernstein completely fail to capture the inner beauty of the work, Ormandy gives superb account, but so poorly recorded. Karajan's DG recording is perhaps the most satisfying, but it lacks extra something to be a top recommendation…
This performance is breath of pure Bohemian fresh air. If I may draw an analogy, it is like seeing an old master you have long admired but felt rather in awe of, stripped of its old varnish, despoiled of its centuries of dust and grime and for the first time revealed as a COMPLETELY DIFFERENT PAINTING. Sure, the nostalgia is still there but gone, miraculously, is the sentimentality. Marriner takes Dvorak back, to where I am sure he would have been very happy to go, to his country roots and this performance is an utter delight.