Album of the Week

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 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
Luc Beausejour

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

Stokowski Transcriptions
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

Virtuoso 
Kavakos


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

American Romantics
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

Bach
Nelson Freire


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

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

Arpeggione
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

The Clarinotts
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

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.

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