Sunday, 18 April 2010

Some New CDs

We’ve just received the list of new releases for May from Naxos, and it looks like a much more interesting selection of music than they have managed of late.
Pride of place will no doubt go to the latest in the series of Shostakovich Symphonies from the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic conducted by Vasily Petrenko. This time it’s the dramatic and intense Symphony No 8, Come to think of it, you could describe a lot of Shostakovich like that.

The critical acclaim that greeted Symphonies 5, 9 & 11 from Petrenko and the Liverpool Phil means this is a must-hear recording. Anyway, I’ve always had a soft spot for the Liverpool Phil, as my Auntie Joyce played in it for years, and it was the first orchestra I ever heard live.

Another release that won’t escape the attention of the critics will be Marin Allsop’s reading of Dvorak 7 and 8, following on from her superb offering of the New World last year. She was one of Leonard Bernstein’s most successful pupils, and to my way of thinking, she learned what needed to be learned, and managed to avoid some of the excesses of the master. Perhaps you don’t agree, but it’ll be interesting to see if she can come up with a fresh take on both these symphonies. They are recordings of live performances with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra.

The disc I’ll be dipping into first, as long as it actually does arrive on time, will be Arthur Bliss’s Meditations on a Theme by John Blow, and his Metamorphic Variations, both completely new to me. The Meditations is apparently a kind of tribute to the generation cut down in the first world war, including the composer’s own brother. I’m hoping these pieces will turn out to be another of the unexpected treasures that Naxos produces from time to time. I’m still enjoying the Aviv Quartet’s amazing recording of Erwin Schulhoff’s two quartets that came out last month.

The last of my pick of the new discs is of music by Erno von Dohnanyi. If you’ve never heard of him, don’t let the name put you off – this is great, tuneful, ravishing orchestral music with a twinkle in its eye ! Listen to the Variations, and you’ll see why that word sprang to mind! I promise you’ll enjoy back if not completely delighted!

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