New Releases from the Järvi Family, Plus Plenty of Bull

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Free Download: Alan Feinberg plays John Bull's Galliard "St. Thomas, Wake!" (Facebook*)

This week's new releases including a survey of Elizabethan bad-boy composer John Bull, and recordings from the conducting dynasty of Neeme and Krystjan Järvi, who lead music by Chabrier and Orff, respectively.

'Basically Bull' - John Bull Piano Music
Alan Feinberg, piano
Steinway & Sons
Available at

John Bull was one of the more colorful characters in Elizabethan music, a notorious womanizer who, in 1613, was charged with the crime of adultery and forced to flee to the Netherlands. Much of his music was lost as he was running from the law but what remains is consistently inventive and even experimental. Ironically, the pieces on Alan Feinberg’s new recording were written for the virginal – a piano precursor that chaste young women were expected to play. Feinberg brings these miniatures to life on the modern keyboard, ripping through the runs and unraveling the contrapuntal puzzles of the various pavans, galliards and fantasias.


Neeme Järvi Conducts Chabrier
Orchestre De La Suisse Romande

Available at

Last year, Neeme Järvi marked his 30-year anniversary with Chandos, and he continues to churn out a steady stream of recordings, even as he is slowing down somewhat at age 75. The Estonian-born, New York-based conductor has made over 400 recordings, by some estimates, and he continues to guest conduct all over the world. His latest album with the the Geneva-based Orchestre de la Suisse Romande features Emmanuel Chabrier, a composer with a mainly light but hugely influential style: Ravel, Debussy, Poulenc, Satie and Dutilieux all acknowledged his influence. This recording touches on such colorful works as Espana, the Gwendoline Overture, and the Habanera, plus three effervescent suites. This music has long been part of the OSR’s DNA and it shows here.


Kristjan Järvi conducts Orff’s Carmina Burana
Available at

The orchestra and choir of Central German Broadcasting may not be a household name, but with Kristjan Järvi, son of Neeme and brother of Pavo, the ensemble gets it right in Carmina Burana. Järvi draws out the hedonistic qualities of Orff’s controversial cantata, from the familiar "O Fortuna" to the earthy “Veni, veni venias.” The soprano Kiera Duffy is on the mark in "Dulcissme" and the chorus goes big at the right moments. As with his 2009 recording of Bernstein's Mass, Järvi is adept at juggling large, disparate forces and building them to great climaxes.

*Not into Facebook? The download will be included in this week's WQXR E-Newsletter, which goes out on Friday.