New Releases Featuring Fibich, Corelli and Piers Lane

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This week's featured albums spotlight a neglected Czech nationalist composer; the brilliant violin sonatas of Arcangelo Corelli; and a collection of encores and party pieces played by pianist Piers Lane.

Piers Lane: Goes to Town
Available at

The London-based Australian pianist Piers Lane takes a delightful journey through 20 encores, party pieces and a few rarities on this new album. Familiar selections include Myra Hess's beloved arrangement of Bach's Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring, Percy Grainger’s 1911 setting of the Londonderry Air, and Dudley Moore's droll Beethoven Parody. There are first recordings of John Ireland's Ballerina and Mark Saya's Barcarolles, a conflation of Offenbach and Chopin. From Lane's Australia are several gems including Kity Parker’s tuneful Down Longford Way (1928) and Arthur Benjamin's catchy Jamaican Rumba (1945). In all, there's much to enjoy here.


Zdenek Fibich: Symphony No. 1 and Impressions from the Countryside
Czech National Symphony Orchestra
Marek Stilec, conductor
Available at

Zdenek Fibich (1850-1900) fell into the interstices of music history: born just after Dvorak, just before Janacek, and ultimately overshadowed by them both. Unlike the Czech nationalists, his music looked more broadly towards Western-European late Romanticism, which is probably why he lacked enduring advocates at home. It is thus interesting to listen to Fibich's Symphony No. 1 in F, Op. 17, and his Op. 54 symphonic suite Impressions from the Countryside, nicely performed by the Czech National Symphony. In both works Fibich displays a pleasant, mild Romanticism; the symphony has placid pastoral gestures and plenty of easygoing lyricism, and it concludes with a rousing finale. Impressions has some charming rustic dances that hint at Dvorak.


Arcangelo Corelli: Op. 5 Violin Sonatas
The Avison Ensemble
Available at

Corelli’s 12 violin sonatas were landmarks in Baroque instrumental music, having achieved considerable popularity in Italy, and becoming internationally revered after his death in 1713. The U.K. period-instrument group the Avison Ensemble, featuring the violinist Pavlo Beznosiuk, presents these works in stylish, somewhat improvisatory performances. The orchestrations – including organ, harpsichord, archlute, guitar and cello – gives the pieces plenty of variety.