New Releases of Grieg, Handel and 'Piano Titans'

Sunday, July 28, 2013

This week's featured albums include some entrepreneurial expansions of Grieg's violin sonatas; four-hand piano music by Beethoven, Schubert and Clementi; and Handel's masterful Concerti Grossi, Op. 6.

Grieg: Three Concertos based on the Violin Sonatas
Henning Kraggerud, Tromso Chamber Orchestra
Available at Arkivmusic.com

Edvard Grieg's reputation in orchestral music centers on a couple of familiar warhorses — the Piano Concerto, the Peer Gynt Suite — but he never wrote a violin concerto. So it's with much curiosity that we receive this new recording by Henning Kraggerud and the Tromsø Chamber Orchestra. The Norwegian violinist (along with arranger colleague Bernt Simen Lund) expands Grieg's three violin sonatas into full-blown concertos, each with arrangements that exercise restraint (so as to never overpower the violin) and also a range of color and variety (the use of four woodwinds with strings was the right idea). Particularly compelling is the third concerto, which comes off as heroic, vibrant and seductive.

 

Handel: Concerto Grossi, Op. 6
Aradia Ensemble; Kevin Mallon, conductor
Available at Arkivmusic.com

Handel composed two collections of concerto grossi: Op. 3 and Op. 6. The latter is to be considered a clear homage to the model of his predecessor Corelli, and it's music into which Handel pour the best of his art. This three-CD box set stars Toronto's Aradia Ensemble, directed by Canadian Kevin Mallon, in taut and stylish performances.

 

Piano Titans: Clementi, Beethoven and Schubert
Anagnoson & Kinton piano duo
Available at Arkivmusic.com

Also from Canada is the veteran piano duo of James Anagnoson and Leslie Kinton, grandly-titled "Piano Titans" centers on classical and early romantic four-hand repertoire. There are marches by Beethoven, written for piano duet; two B-flat major sonatas by Clementi; and Schubert's Fantasie in F Minor, D. 940, one of the most substantial works for piano four-hands. The duo elicits grand and charismatic performances of these diverse works.

 

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The Albums of the Week are compelling new recordings that we spotlight every week. These include creative repertoire choices, engaging musical personalities and artistic statements that stand out from the pack. You can hear the Albums of the Week throughout the day and evening on WQXR.

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