New Releases of Telemann, Mozart and Tchaikovsky

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This week's featured albums traverse three centuries of orchestral music.


Angela Hewitt: Mozart Piano Concertos Nos. 17 & 27
Orchestra da Camera di Mantova
Hannu Lintu, conductor
Available at

On the second installment of a projected complete series of the concertos of Mozart, the Canadian-born, London-based pianist Angela Hewitt gives us two of the composer's most notable and popular pieces: the Concertos Nos. 17 and 27. Along with her frequent collaborators, the Mantua Chamber Orchestra and the Finnish conductor Hannu Lintu, Hewitt delivers elegant and heartfelt interpretations. Along with her polished performances, the artist expresses her insights on the pieces in the accompanying booklet.

Telemann: Overtures Pittoresques
Arte Dei Suonatori, Martin Gester, conductor
Available at

Telemann has long been overshadowed by the Baroque masters J.S. Bach and Handel, even though he was ranked with the latter as Germany's leading composer in his own day. He was extremely prolific (he wrote over 1000 cantatas alone) and lived a long and fruitful life. But if his music is sometimes viewed more for its geniality than its innovation, he did show considerable invention in the ouverture pittoresque, a French form that he managed to make his own. The Polish period group Arte dei Suonatori (yes, they are Polish), takes on five of these suites, highlighting their folk music touches and colorful, piquant harmonies.

Tchaikovsky: The Queen of Spades; Voyevoda; Orchestral Suites
New Zealand Symphony Orchestra
Peter Breiner, conductor
Available at

Think you've heard all the Tchaikovsky you need to know? This new recording by the New Zealand Symphony may offer a few revelations. Composer and conductor Peter Breiner has taken some of the composer's operas that are little-known in the U.S. and fashioned new orchestral suites from their parts. Adaptations of The Queen of Spades and The Voyevoda bring out the operas' sweeping melodies, colorful orchestrations and dramatic arcs. The playing is colorful and judicious throughout. Particularly notable are adapted arias by violinist Vesa-Matti Leppänen and cellist Andrew Joyce in The Voyevoda suite.