CD of the Week

Discover New Music with KDFC's CDs of the Week!

Tune in throughout the week for tracks from KDFC’s CD of the Week. More to discover with KDFC and KDFC.com.

Week of February 1

Solo
Nicholas McCarthy


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
Vladimir Horowitz


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
Sharon Isbin​


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
James Ehnes


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
Lang Lang


"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

Gabrieli
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 Paradiso, 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
Yundi


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)
Anne-Sophie Mutter


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
Louise Dubin


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.



 

Week of August 31

The Perlman Sound
Itzhak Perlman


This week  we celebrate the 70th birthday of everybody's favorite violinist, Itzhak Perlman. The Perlman Sound is a 3-CD anthology of some of the world's best-loved violin hits, as played by one of the all-time greats. What is the "Perlman Sound"? Lustrous, warm, and generous. The collection features performances by the birthday boy and a host of Perlman pals, like Martha Argerich, Daniel Barenboim, Pinchas Zukerman, Placido Domingo, and many others. Happy Birthday Itzhak from KDFC!



 

Week of August 24

Americano
Pablo Sainz Villegas, guitar


The soul of the Spanish guitar runs in Pablo Villegas’s blood. A native of La Rioja, Spain, Villegas is praised for performances as charismatic as they are intimate. His solo debut album is a musical journey through different countries, aesthetics, composers, and styles of the Americas. The diverse 18 tracks include the world premiere recording of Rounds by film composer John Williams, Preludes by Brazilian master Heitor Villa-Lobos, selections from Bernstein's West Side Story and remarkable arrangements of traditional American bluegrass.




 

Week of August 17

Vivaldi: The Four Seasons
Richard Tognetti / Australian Chamber Orchestra


Countless violinists have recorded Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, not to mention the many arrangements of the pieces for other instruments. Now Richard Tognetti and the Australian Chamber Orchestra, a team internationally recognized for its virtuosity, energy and individuality, has recorded their take on Vivaldi’s springtime birdsong, summer thunderstorm, autumn hunting and chattering teeth of icy winter. We'll be featuring selections from this new CD this week on the air.




 

Week of August 10

The Singing Oboe: Romantic German Lied Transcriptions
Andrew Parker / Alan Huckleberry


Albinoni thought the sound of the oboe was the closest an instrument could get to the human voice. Oboist Andrew Parker was always told to sing when he played, and sing he does (figuratively speaking) on his new CD. Parker joins pianist Alan Huckleberry to play art songs by Beethoven and Schubert (including "The Tout" and "Gretchen at the Spinning Wheel") and Schumann's song cycle "Dichterliebe (The Poet's Love)." Listen for these "songs without words" throughout the week and buy the CD below.



 

Week of August 3

Chopin: 51 Mazurkas
Vassily Primakov


Moscow-born Vassily Primakov has established himself as one of today's most exciting young pianists, especially when it comes to the music of Chopin. Gramophone magazine wrote that "Primakov's empathy with Chopin's spirit could hardly be more complete." we'll be sampling this week from his latest recording, a 2-CD set consisting of 51 Chopin Mazurkas.


 

Week of July 27

Trans4mation
Guitar4mation

The Vienna-based Guitar4mation presents unique arrangements of piano music for guitar quartet. With their new CD, Trans4mation, they also build a bridge between the world of European Romantic music and the world of Latin jazz. Imagine a Chopin Piano Prelude transformed into a waltz by Brazilian Antonio Jobim! ​


 

Week of July 20

The Art of Bach
Anderson & Roe


8-time Grammy winner, Jose Serebrier, has a special affinity for Slavic music but until recently, the Uraguayan-born conductor had only recorded two of the Symphonies of Dvorak. ​This has been remedied with a new 7-CD set. Along with the complete 9 symphonies of Dvorak, the new set also includes other concert pieces: a selection of the Slavonic Dances, as well as the wonderfully lyrical Legends.

Week of July 13

Dvorak: Complete Symphonies, Legends, Slavonic Dances
Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra/Jose Serebrier



8-time Grammy winner, Jose Serebrier, has a special affinity for Slavic music but until recently, the Uraguayan-born conductor had only recorded two of the Symphonies of Dvorak. ​This has been remedied with a new 7-CD set. Along with the complete 9 symphonies of Dvorak, the new set also includes other concert pieces: a selection of the Slavonic Dances, as well as the wonderfully lyrical Legends.


 

Week of June 22

Brahms Inspired: Orli Shaham, piano

Our CD of the Week is a brand new recording from pianist Orli Shaham, called Brahms Inspired.  It's a collection of pieces by Brahms himself, plus works which inspired Brahms (Bach, Chopin, Schubert), as well as pieces inspired by Brahms, including two works that Shaham commissioned especially for this project. The Brahms works date from late in his life and career: the Op.117 Intermezzi and the Piano Pieces from Op.118 and 119. Juxtaposed with these are new works by Avner Dorman and Bruce Adolphe. Shaham says, "Like works of (visual) art grouped in the same room, I find the works on this album speak to and illuminate each other."

Week of June 15

James Horner: Pas de Deux for violin and cello
Mari and Hakon Samuelsen


Classical musicians, Mari and Hakon Samuelsen are a genre-defying violin and cello duo from Norway. The siblings recently commissioned film composer, James Horner (Avatar, Titanic, Legends of the Fall) to write something especially for them. The result is Pas de Deux, the centerpiece of this new CD. Described as "hypnotic, post-minmalist", Pas de Deux is partnered with haunting works by Ludovico Einaudi, Arvo Part, and Giovanni Sollima. KDFC's evening host, Rik Malone will premiere Pas de Deux on his show Monday night (6/15).


 

Week of June 8

Wolf Hall: The Tudor Music
Musicians of Shakespeare's Globe


The recent BBC/PBS presentation of Hilary Mantel's Wolf Hall  tells the story of Thomas Cromwell, key political "fixer" and advisor to Henry VIII.  As Wolf Hall music historian, Claire van Kampen explains: "Henry VIII's period is extraordinary because it's when everything changes in music". Van Kampen put together the splendid soundtrack for the production, selecting authentic pieces from the period, including several compositions by Henry himself. The musicians (from Shakepeare's Globe Theatre) were filmed performing by candlelight in the very rooms through which Henry walked with Anne Boleyn. Van Kampen, "We all had goosebumps!"

Week of June 1

Javier Perianes
Grieg: Concerto in A minor, Lyric Pieces


Spanish pianist Javier Perianes is in town this week with the SF Symphony, performing in the evocative Nights in the Gardens of Spain by Falla. We're featuring his latest recording all this week on KDFC, but instead of Spain, we find ourselves in Norway. It's the music of Edvard Grieg with the beloved Piano Concerto plus selections from the Lyric Pieces for solo piano.

Week of May 25

Nelson Freire:Chopin
Piano Concerto #2 and works for solo piano


"Every time I play Chopin, I love it even more." Brazilian pianist Nelson Freire, 70, first recorded a work by Chopin when he was 12. That work, the Ballade #4, is included on this disc, along with the "Heroic" Polonaise, the Op.57 Berceuse, an Impromptu, and several Mazurkas. But the centerpiece of the recording is the lyrical and brilliant Piano Concerto #2 with Mr. Freire joining the Gurzenich Orchestra and French conductor Lionel Bringuier.

Week of May 18

Caterina Lichtenberg and Mike Marshal
Bach for Mandolin and Mandocello


Two of the world's renowned mandolin soloists join forces on this new recording of Bach's music arranged for mandolin and mandocello. (The mandocello is to the mandolin what the cello is to the violin!) Caterina Lichtenberg is the only mandolin professor in the world (in Cologne, Germany) and Mike Marshall is a master of a variety of musical styles: jazz, world, and bluegrass, as well as classical. Selections come from Bach's the Art of the Fugue, the Organ Duets, and the Two-Part Inventions.

Week of May 11

Angele Dubeau & La Pieta
Portrait: Ludovico Einaudi


The latest installment in La Pieta's Portrait series of recordings is this new disc devoted to the music of the Italian, self-styled minimalist, Ludovico Einaudi. KDFC listeners were introduced to Einaudi through his piece The Two Sunsets, which became a surprise hit back in the mid-2000's. For Angele Dubeau, leader of La Pieta and one of Canada's most revered musicians, Einaudi's music "dwells within us for a long time. [It is a music] which captivates the listener, a sonic landscape to discover." We'll be re-discovering it this week on KDFC!


 

Week of May 4

Brahms: The Hungarian Connection
Andreas Ottensamer, clarinet


Austrian clarinetist Andreas Ottensamer has released a new album which explores the connections Johannes Brahms had to Hungarian folk music. Joined by a virtuoso ensemble of musicians, Ottensamer performs the Brahms' Clarinet Quintet combined with Hungarian dances and waltzes by Brahms, all newly arranged to include additional material from Brahms' original musical sources, with an authentic folk twist.


 

Week of April 13

Great Comedy Overtures
Royal Scottish National Orchestra/Lance Friedel


American Lance Friedel leads the Royal Scottish National Orchestra in a collection of popular comic opera overtures on our CD of the Week. These exuberant pieces are filled with gorgeous tunes, brilliant orchestrations, and race-to-the-finish endings. Included are well-loved curtain-raisers to The Merry Wives of Windsor, Susanna's Secret, Donna Diana,  The Barber of Bagdad, and more. It's great to have new recordings of these long-time hits!


 

Week of April 6

The Salzburg Recital
Grigory Sokolov


Russian pianist Grigory Sokolov (64) has released relatively few recordings in his distinguished career. He prefers the live experience of playing before an audience. This new CD is his first in nearly twenty years and captures the immediacy of his artistry in a live recording from the 2008 Salzburg Festival. The program ranged from Rameau to Scriabin, with Mozart and Chopin in between. We will be sampling tracks from this release all week on KDFC, including selections from the six (!) encores he performed on the occasion. The Daily Telegraph wrote: "Listening to Sokolov, you know unequivocally that you are in the presence of someone extraordinary."


 

Week of March 30

Mozart: Piano Concertos and More
Los Angeles Guitar Quartet


The latest from the irrepressible LAGQ features their arrangement of music from 15th and 16th century Spain and France, including a suite from an adaptation of Cervantes' "Don Quixote," which starred John Cleese. Great playing, spacious sound, fun music and castanets! Listen for tracks all week and find out more on our CD of the Week page at kdfc.com


 

Week of March 16

Seascapes
Janice Weber


Coming soon from American pianist (and fiction author) Janice Weber is Seascapes, a collection of piano pieces inspired by the ocean. Each piece evokes a different sense of the sea's limitless moods and splendor. The diverse line-up of composers represented includes Bedrich Smetana, Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco, Emil von Sauer, Ernst Bloch, and many others. Weber is a member of the piano faculty at the Boston Conservatory and is also a successful writer. Her books are noted for their bawdy, dark humor and their female protagonists.

Week of March 9

Wagner: Preludes And Interludes
Fabio Luisi conducts Philharmonia Zurich


Italian maestro Fabio Luisi is an internationally acclaimed conductor, especially of opera. Luisi is principal guest conductor of the Metropolitan Opera and took over much of the conducting duties there during the recent 2-year absence of music director James Levine. He is also the director of the Zurich Opera and now, with the Philharmonia Zurich, he has released a collection of purely orchestral selections from the operas of Richard Wagner. Included are the Preludes to Lohengrin, Tannhauser, Meistersinger, and Parsifal. Plus The Ride of the Valkyries and orchestral passages from Gotterdammerung and the famous (infamous?) Love-Death from Tristan and Isolde The 2-CD set of Preludes and Interludes by Wagner, will be sampled generously on the air all this week on KDFC.

Week of March 2

Chopin, Schumann: Etudes
Valentina Lisitsa. piano


Ukrainian pianist Valentina Lisitsa is the poster child for all artists hoping to use social media to promote their career. She really gets it and has forged a connection with her followers that is the envy of many of her peers. Her latest release is all piano etudes by two great masters. She plays the two sets by Chopin (Op.10 and Op. 25) plus the Symphonic Etudes, Op.13 of Robert Schumann. Listen for excerpts on the air this week from KDFC.

Week of February 24

Avi Avital: Vivaldi
Venice Baroque Orchestra


Israeli mandolin master, Avi Avital has had a lot of experience transcribing music to fit his instrument since there is relatively little music written specially for the mandolin. In the case of the Vivaldi Mandolin Concerto in C, however, he has the pleasure of performing a great work in its original form. That being said, this new recording also contains a host of Avital's nimble transcriptions, from Vivaldi Concertos for lute, violin, and recorder, to a Venetian Gondolier song, sung by one of today's most popular tenors, Juan Diego Florez. We'll be featuring tracks from this new CD throughout this week on KDFC.

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