Discover New Music with KDFC's Album of the Week!
Tune in throughout the week for tracks from KDFC’s Album of the Week. More to discover with KDFC and KDFC.com.
Week of August 22nd
Norwegian early music guitarist/lutenist, Rolf Lislevand turns his attention to the music of two composers from the court of Louis XIV in this new solo release. Lislevand performs on Baroque guitar and theorbo, interpreting masterpieces by Robert de Visee (including his La Mascarade) and the Italian-born Francesco Corbetta. In keeping with tradition, Lislevand improvises introductions for some of the works.
Week of August 15th
Paradisum: Serene Sacred Songs
Bocelli, Pavarotti, Netrebko, et al
This 2CD collection brings together the calmest and most thoughtful sacred songs ever written, performed by the world's greatest singers including Andrea Bocelli, Luciano Pavarotti, Jonas Kaufmann, Anna Netrebko, Renee Fleming, Jose Carreras and Bryn Terfel. Composers range from Bach, Mozart, and Schubert, to the contemporary cool of today's gifted choral composers such as Eric Whitacre and Ola Gjeilo. A much-needed escape from our hectic world.
Week of August 8th
Angela Hewitt, piano
The sixth installment in acclaimed Canadian pianist Angela Hewitt's complete cycle of Beethoven Sonatas, this week's featured disc contains Sonatas #9,#19,#20, #16, and #26, "Les adieux". Hewitt is one of the world's leading pianists. The Ottawa-born daughter of an organist, she made her recital debut at the age of nine.
Week of August 1st
Dvorak: Violin Concerto and More
Jan Mracek, violin/Czech National Symphony
Antonin Dvorak was an expert string player. He was a violist in the Prague Theatre Orchestra for ten years and was a soloist in the premiere of Smetana's first string quartet. But it was for the violin that Dvorak wrote some of his most memorable works, all included on this new recording. In addition to the Concerto, a staple in the violin repertory, he penned the delectable Romance in a minor, the lively Mazurek (Mazurka), and the popular Romantic Pieces, Op.75 for violin and piano. The young Czech violinist Jan Mracek is featured along with the Czech National Symphony.
Week of July 25th
Guitarist and composer Frederic Hand is showcased in both capacities on a new release called "Odyssey". Hand, the longtime guitarist for the Metropolitan Opera, has been a teacher and mentor to generations of guitarists. As a composer, he produces music that defies categorization - drawing from early music, Irish music, new age, contemporary composition, and jazz. We'll be sampling tracks from "Odyssey" all this week on KDFC.
Week of July 18th
"When I don't play Chopin for a while, I don't feel like a pianist," said Martha Argerich in a BBC
interview. Our Album of the Week this week is a new 5 CD set which brings together Martha Argerich’s complete studio, live and radio recordings of Chopin on the renowned German label, Deutsche Grammophon, and documents her special relationship with the composer’s music. Issued for her 75th birthday celebration, this retrospective offers a comprehensive view on the composer who has always been at the very heart of Martha Argerich’s repertoire.
Week of July 11th
Bach: Goldberg Variations
There is a delightful story about the Bach Goldberg Variations; probably not true, but delightful nonetheless. Gottlieb Goldberg, harpsichord student of Bach's, was in the service of a nobleman who had trouble sleeping. Bach supposedly wrote the Aria and Variations expressly for Goldberg to play in the middle of the night to soothe the insomniac Count. Well, maybe. What is undeniably true is that this set of pieces gives us another amazing example of Bach's limitless genius. The Goldbergs have been adapted many times for performance by various instruments and groups of instruments. On this new recording, we hear them performed on a quartet of violin, cello, oboe, and tenor oboe by Zurich's Aulos Quartet. Enjoy!
Week of July 4th
Vanessa Benelli Mosell: Light
Valentina Lisitsa: Nuances
We're featuring two recordings this week exploring the piano music of the Russian composer, piano virtuoso, visionary, and mystic, Alexander Scriabin, who died at the age of 43 slightly more than 100 years ago, (1915). From Valentina Lisitsa is a new CD called Nuances
, demonstrating the sharp contrast between Scriabin's early and later work. More works by Scriabin are found on Light
the latest from the Italian pianist Vanessa Benelli Mosell. She couples Scriabin's 24 Preludes with pieces by her mentor, the contemporary German composer Karlheinz Stockhausen, who is also often described as a visionary.
|Vanessa Benelli Mosell: Light
||Valentina Lisitsa: Nuances
Week of June 27th
The Indian Character Piece: Native-American Influenced Piano Works from the Early 20th Century
Stephanie Bruning, piano
The so-called Indianist Movement from around the turn of the 20th century generated compositions related to or based on the music of Native Americans. The Indianist Movement in music resulted from many factors, chief among them was the quest for a voice that was uniquely American. Enthusiasm for the "Indian Character Piece" died out, leaving hundreds of pieces collecting dust. This new recording from pianist and educator Stephanie Bruning brings these pieces into the spotlight again, or, in some cases, for the very first time.
Week of June 20th
Poulenc: Works for Piano Solo & Duo
Lucille Chung / Alessio Bax
Canadian pianist Lucille Chung is admired for her “stylish and refined performances.” (Gramophone Magazine) She first appears as a soloist on this release with Poulenc’s Improvisations, Novelettes and L’embarquement pour Cythere, before being joined by her duo partner and husband, Alessio Bax. Poulenc was not only an incredible composer, but also a virtuosic pianist. His style is characterized by color and clarity, and he is considered by many to be the finest French song composer since Faure.
Week of June 13th
Pergolesi's Fortune: Authentic and Spurious Works for Keyboard
Marco Sollini, piano
The Italian composer Giovanni Battista Pergolesi (1710-1736) was so famous that even after his untimely death, the demand for his music continued to be huge. As a result, some unscrupulous publishers put Pergolesi's name on works by other composers. This caused a great deal of confusion over the years. Which works are actually by Pergolesi and which are spurious? This recording aims to set the record straight. Italian pianist Marco Sollini performs.
Week of June 6
Schubert & Beethoven
The story of Russian pianist Grigory Sokolov is a strange one. He won the Tchaikovsky Competition at the unheard of age of 16 (1966), and went on to be much better known in Europe than here in the US, due in part to the scarcity of recordings by him. In fact, he released no recordings at all during a 20 year period from 1995 to 2015. In 2015, he signed a contract with Deutsche Grammophon and last year, we were able to feature his Salzburg recital of 2008 as Album of the Week. This week, KDFC will highlight his latest release: live performances of Schubert, Beethoven, Rameau, and Brahms from recitals in Warsaw and Salzburg (again) which took place in 2013. Sokolov is a strict vegan, sleeps only three to four hours a night, and has been called the greatest pianist in the world. You be the judge!
Week of May 30
John Field: Complete Nocturnes
Elizabeth Joy Roe, piano
You may know Elizabeth Joy Roe as one half of the adventurous Anderson & Roe Piano Duo. On this solo recording, she performs all 18 Piano Nocturnes of the Irishman who invented the form, John Field. We often say that Chopin went on to perfect the Nocturne, but these works by Field are pretty captivating in their own right. Liszt described them thusly: "These half-formed sighs floating through the air, softly lamenting and dissolved in delicious melancholy." Wow!
Week of May 23
Mozart Violin Sonatas
Alina Ibragimova, violin/Cedric Tiberghien, piano
Mozart composed pieces for piano and violin throughout his brief life, starting when he was just 8 years old with a set of Sonatas he wrote for the English royal family. He even performed them in 1764 at Buckingham House (now Palace). Our Album of the Week this week features Russian violinist Alina Ibragimova and French pianist Cedric Tiberghien in a survey of Mozart's works for violin and piano, beginning with some of his earliest efforts, up to the mature Sonata K.481 from 1785. These two 30-somethings have been collaborating for some time and have also released recordings of the Beethoven and Schubert Sonatas.
Week of May 16
Baroque Session on Piano
French-Canadian musician Luc Beausejour branches out with this new recording of keyboard works from the Baroque period (roughly 1600-1750). A noted harpsichordist, Beausejour carefully selected only those pieces that he felt "translated" well to themodern piano on this recording. For example, he decided not to include any Bach Fugues, explaining that it is much more difficult to create definition for the inner voices of a fugue on a piano than on a harpsichord. The resulting program is a fascinating exploration of what is gained and what is lost when playing Baroque repertory on a modern keyboard.
Week of May 9
Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra/Jose Serebrier
Conductor Jose Serebrier has a unique perspective on the famous transcriptions of the legendary Leopold Stokowski, having worked with the Maestro as associate conductor in New York. Serebrier, a composer himself, revisits these striking transcriptions in recordings made with his Bournemouth Symphony from 2005 through 2009, newly compiled for this release. Works include the Bach Toccata and Fugue (as featured in Fantasia), the Boccherini Minuet, Wagner's Ride of the Valkyries, and many others, all with the unmistakable Stokowski sound!
Week of April 25
Ravel: Complete Orchestral Works
Tonhalle Orchestra/Lionel Bringuier
"Maurice Ravel was a magnificent orchestrator," enthuses French conductor Lionel Bringuier. The conductor leads the Zurich Tonhalle Orchestra in the complete works for orchestra by the great French composer. This collection includes Le Tombeau de Couperin, Bolero, Mother Goose, Alborada del gracioso, La Valse, the two Piano Concertos with soloist Yuja Wang, and so much more. Violinist Ray Chen is also featured on this 4-CD set.
Week of April 18
The phenomenal Greek violinist Leonidas Kavakos has a new recording of short works that are among the most difficult and exciting ever written for the violin. Many are classic encores associated with great violinists of the past, like Fritz Kreisler, Nicolo Paganini, Pablo de Sarasate, and others. Alongside the technically challenging pieces, are some beautiful, lyrical encores in this wide-ranging program.
Week of April 11
Reuben Blundell / Gowanus Arts Ensemble
This week we're sampling tracks from a new CD called "American Romantics", featuring recordings of works by Romantic-era American-born composers, as well as composers who emigrated to the US. Some names may be familiar (Arthur Foote, Horatio Parker) but others are virtually unknown, and their works have been recorded here for the very first time. The CD is a project of conductor and Hunter College professor, Reuben Blundell, who leads the Gowanus Arts Ensemble.
Week of April 4
In his latest recording, Brazilian pianist Nelson Freire "distills a lifetime of experience with Bach into 80 minutes of authoritative playing." In advance of his recitals here in the Bay Area this May, we'll share selections from this CD, the 71-year-old Freire's first ever all-Bach recording, throughout the week. Here's more
info on his appearances with Chamber Music SF.
Week of March 28
Lullabies for Mila
Alessio Bax, piano
This week's pick is just one big "Aww". Pianist Alessio Bax and his piano-playing wife, Lucille Chung have a 2-year-old little girl named Mila. And like every new parent in the history of humankind, they can't believe how this little creature has changed their lives and made everything, including their music, more special. Alessio has put together a program of piano lullabies that he hopes will "not just entertain, but enrich. A gift from me to other parents, so that at the end of a challenging day, they (and their children) can enjoy a seamless stream of great music."
Week of March 14
Royal Harp Strings
Claire Jones is a Welsh (of course!) harpist who spent the years 2007 to 2011 as Royal Harpist to the Prince of Wales, performing at more than 170 royal engagements. This week's CD of the Week is her "Royal Harp Strings", containing twelve tracks of music that creates an atmosphere to soothe, relax, and unwind. Selections include a the theme from Downton Abbey and folk tunes from the British Isles, as well as classical favorites by Holst and Saint-Saens. Ms. Jones has spoken publicly about her struggles with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. She credits many of the works on this album as her "soundtrack to recovery".
Week of March 7
David Leisner & Zuill Bailey
Quick, think of a piece for guitar and cello. Right? There's not much. American guitarist David Leisner and friend-of-the-station, cellist Zuill Bailey come together on a new CD to add significantly to that repertory. The main work on the recording is Leisner's new arrangement of the beloved Schubert "Arpeggione" Sonata, composed in 1824 for a novelty instrument said to have been a cross between the guitar and the cello. So why not hear it played by guitar and cello? Also on the disc is the World Premiere recording of Leisner's Twilight Streams, dedicated to Zuill Bailey. Selections for guitar and cello by Gluck, Villa-Lobos, Falla, and Paganini round out the program.
Week of February 29
Ernst, Daniel, & Andreas Ottensamer
They may be known as the Royal Family of the Clarinet in Vienna, but they are calling themselves the Clarinotts on this album of showstoppers for multiple clarinets. They are the Ottensamers. There's dad, Ernst, who has been a Principal Clarinet of the Vienna Philharmonic since 1983. His two sons, Andreas and Daniel, now hold similar roles in the Vienna and Berlin Philharmonics respectively, and Andreas is also a solo clarinet star. Together they perform selections "from the stage" on this CD, with music from opera, ballet, film, and more.
Week of February 15
1985 at the Movies
Take a trip back in time with this week's CD of the Week. As a warm-up to our annual KDFC at the Movies next week, we're sharing a new release that celebrates 1985, a great year for movies and a great year for movie music. John Barry's score for Out of Africa sets the bar very high for this collection which also includes themes from Witness (Maurice Jarre), Back to the Future(Alan Sivestri), and The Color Purple by Quincy Jones. Some of the movies may be long forgotten, but the list of composers is pretty impressive: Henry Mancini, James Horner, John Corigliano, and Jerry Goldsmith, among others.
Week of February 1
This story will blow you away! British pianist Nicholas McCarthy was born in 1989 without his right hand. This month he releases his debut album, "Solo". McCarthy only began his piano studies at the late age of 14. He went on to graduate from the Royal College of Music in London in 2012 and has since been making headlines world-wide. This new CD features 16 racks, ranging from Puccini's O mio babbino caro to a new work written especially for Nicholas by Nigel Hess, entitled Nocturne for Left-Hand.
New Year's Concert 2016
Vienna Philharmonic/Mariss Jansons
It's a tradition that has spanned 75 years! The New Year's Day Concert by the Vienna Philharmonic. Each year, the Vienna Philharmonic rings in the New Year with a gala concert that is broadcast to over 90 countries around the world and watched by more than 50 million viewers. The program, per tradition, is made up of a mix of works by members of the Strauss dynasty (particularly from the so-called Waltz King, Johann, Jr.), and their contemporaries. This year's concert, which was conducted by Mariss Jansons, featured 8 works never before heard on the New Year's concert, plus many returning favorites.
Week of January 11
Horowitz: Return to Chicago
The great pianist Vladimir Horowitz died in 1989 but even after all these years, his name still conjures up the image of an exceptional artist and one of the giants of classical music in the 20th-century. This new release is a live recording of a concert Horowitz gave in Chicago's Orchestra Hall on October 26, 1986. The concert was broadcast live that night in Chicago and broadcast again only one other time. The recording captures Horowitz in his element, performing in front of a live audience. Included are works by Scarlatti, Mozart, Scriabin, Schumann, Liszt, and Chopin.
Week of January 4
Neeme Jarvi Conducts Offenbach
Orchestre De La Suisse Romande
Neeme Järvi and the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande’s exploration of 19th century French orchestral works continues with a third release spotlighting the opera composer Jacques Offenbach whose sense of satire was evident in his operattas and most famously authored the phantasmagoric Les Contes d’Hoffmann (The Tales of Hoffmann) among other full length operas. Recorded in Super Audio, these overtures hint at the depth and imagination of Offenbach’s sensibilities whose works exemplified the zeitgeist of his time.
Week of December 14
Let Angels Sing
Danish National Vocal Ensemble/with Michala Petri, recorder
This week we'll be sampling from a new Christmas collection from Denmark, made up of mostly familiar European Christmas Carols in new arrangements for recorder and choir. Recorder star Michala Petri is featured.
Week of November 30
Merry Christmas from Vienna
Vienna Boys Choir
Founded in 1498, the Vienna Boys Choir boasts more than 500 years of musical history. Joseph and Michael Haydn, as well as Franz Schubert, are among their famous alums. This year, the boys sing such familiar carols as Jingle Bells, The First Nowell, Joy to the world,
and Adeste fideles
. The program also includes some pop favorites like Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer
and Let It Snow.
The Vienna Boys Choir helps us ring in the Holiday season this week! As the Austrians say, Froehliche Weihnachten!
Bach for Guitar
This week's featured CD is a reissue of a recording from 1989 by American guitar virtuoso, Sharon Isbin. She plays the Bach Lute Suites on a modern guitar, demonstrating the well-known adaptability of Bach's music. Isbin is one of today's most acclaimed musicians and was the subject recently of the award-winning documentary, Troubadour
Week of November 9
Vivaldi's Four Seasons
Canadian violinist James Ehnes is front and center in his first recording of the four most famous violin concertos from the Baroque period. He joins the Sydney Symphony and conductor Andrew Armstrong for the Four Seasons
of Antonio Vivaldi. It's always interesting to see what additional pieces show up on a recording of The Four Seasons.
In the case of this CD, Ehnes has chosen the Devil's Trill
Sonata by Guiseppe Tartini (arranged by Fritz Kreisler) and the "Tambourin
Sonata of a leading French Baroque violinist, Jean-Marie Leclair. For these two works, conductor Armstrong morphs into a pianist.
Week of October 26
Lang Lang in Paris
"A dream fulfilled" is the way superstar pianist Lang Lang describes the opportunity to play in the Hall of Mirrors at Versailles. That's one concert I would have loved to attend! The special occasion was filmed and is now available as a DVD. The accompanying studio recording is our CD of the Week, recorded at the Opera Bastille in Paris. The program consists of the 4 Scherzi of Chopin and The Seasons piano suite by Peter Tchaikovsky.
Week of October 19
National Brass Ensemble
This week the KDFC spotlight is on a new recording by some of the finest brass musicians in the US. The National Brass Ensemble was founded in 2011, with the principal brass (and percussion) players from ten of the nation's top orchestras, including from right here in SF. Their latest release is devoted to the music of the Italian Renaissance composer for brass, Giovanni Gabrieli. The CD also features a bonus; a new work by John Williams that is a tribute to the great tradition of brass playing in America. The local participants include Robert Ward, Mark Inouye, and Tim Higgins from the SF Symphony, and Adam Luftman, principal trumpet of the SF Opera and Ballet Orchestras.
Week of October 12
Serenade: The Love Album
Anne Akiko Meyers
Violin virtuoso Anne Akiko Meyers has just released her 31st album and it's a tribute to love! Leonard Bernstein's Serenade for violin is at the center of the recording which also features 10 love-inspired world premiere arrangements from seven living composers. Selections include Gershwin's Someone to Watch Over Me
, Morricone's Gabriel's Oboe
and Cinema Paradis
o, Piazolla's Oblivion
, and even the Disney standard, When You Wish Upon a Star
. Meyers plays her exceptional Guarnerius violin from 1741 on this disc, which she dedicates to her parents on their 50th wedding anniversary.
Week of October 5
Yundi: The Complete Chopin Preludes
Chinese pianist Yundi made history in 2000 by becoming the youngest person ever (18) to win the International Chopin Competition. This year he will be the youngest jury member ever of the prestigious competition. For his latest album, he has recorded the complete Chopin Preludes; 24 short works in every major and minor key. The recording is the first step in Yundi's Chopin Project, which will continue next year with the recording of the two concertos. Yundi has attained "Rock Star" status in his native China, where his concerts are regularly mobbed and he has over 17 million followers on the Chinese version of Twitter!
Week of September 28
Songs from the Arc of Life
Yo-Yo Ma, cello + Kathryn Stott, piano
Yo-Yo Ma: "Kathy and I have talked for years about recording an album of music we absolutely love, pieces that express the context of a life, of our lives." Songs from the Arc of Life
reunites cello superstar Yo-Yo Ma and renowned British pianist Kathryn Stott who have been performing together for more than 30 years. This album is a celebration of that collaboration and great friendship. Listen for excerpts this week on KDFC and be sure to check out the video
Week of September 21
Anne-Sophie Mutter Live: The Club Album (Yellow Lounge)
In May of 2015, violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter gave a truly unique concert: rather than standing on stage in one of the world’s renowned concert halls, she spent two evenings playing in a tiny graffiti-scrawled nightclub in Berlin. Recorded in front of a standing-room only audience, this new release includes popular works by Bach, Copland, Gershwin, Tchaikovsky, Vivaldi and many more. Mutter is joined by Mahan Esfahani, Lambert Orkis and the Mutter Virtuosi. Listen for excerpts this week on KDFC and be sure to check out the video
Week of September 7
The Franchomme Project
This week's featured CD is a tribute to the long-neglected French virtuoso cellist and composer, Auguste Franchomme. Franchomme was a close friend and musical partner of Frederic Chopin, who transcribed a number of Chopin's piano works for cello. Many of those transcriptions are included on this new disc, along with original works by Franchomme, performed by American cellist and Franchomme researcher, Louise Dubin.