New Releases from the Philadelphia Orchestra, H&H and Chloë Hanslip

Thursday, September 26, 2013

This week's featured releases include the Philadelphia Orchestra playing Stravinsky, the Handel and Haydn Society playing its namesake and Chloë Hanslip and Danny Driver uncovering the work of York Bowen.

Philadelphia Orchestra
Yannick Nézet-Séguin, conductor
Deutsche Grammophon
Available at

Two years ago, the Philadelphia Orchestra became the first American orchestra of its size or stature to file for bankruptcy. While few believed the orchestra would collapse during the process, its rebound since has come to much relief to its supporters and fans. The ensemble is beginning its second season with French-Canadian conductor Yannick Nézet-Séguin as music director. His first commercial recording with the orchestra, on the Deutsche Grammophon label, honors one of his great predecessors in the post, Leopold Stokowski. It features a bright and brilliant performance of Stravinsky's The Rite of Spring (whose U.S. premiere Stokowski conducted in Philly in 1922) plus three of Stokowski's Technicolor Bach transcriptions. Nézet-Séguin and the Philadelphians open the Carnegie Hall season on Wednesday, which WQXR will broadcast live.

Handel and Haydn Society
Harry Christophers, conductor
Aisslinn Nosky, violin
Available at

Haydn's symphonies acquired some colorful nicknames -- from "The Clock" to "Palindrome." The Handel and Haydn Society, which is now its 199th season, presents two of these works from opposite ends of the composer's career. In the Symphony No. 6 ("Le Matin"), one can almost hear the sound of a sunrise in the adagio opening, as flutters of winds and horns emerge into song. The Symphony No. 82, nicknamed "The Bear" is a burly work whose outer vivace movements that bustle along with good humor. It includes a theme and double-variations that looks forward to Beethoven's Symphony No. 9. Concertmaster Aisslin Nosky steps forward for Haydn’s relatively modest Violin Concerto in G Major, which has a lyrical nature strongly suggestive of Vivaldi and Albinioni. While it has few bravura showoff moments, there's lots of graceful, affable moments, exquisitely delivered by Nosky.

York Bowen
Chloë Hanslip, violin
Danny Driver, piano
Available at

The early 20th-century English composer York Bowen (1884-1961) was once dubbed the English Rachmaninoff, being a pianist with a post-Romantic musical language, though tinged with Impressionism. While he was a dominant figure in English music before World War I, his fame dissipated, and he spent his final decades as a teacher at the Royal Academy of Music. In recent years the English Hyperion label has been quietly engineering a Bowen mini-revival, releasing an album of his viola music last year (played by Lawrence Power) and now this set of roughly a dozen, mostly single-movement works for violin and piano. Chloë Hanslip and Danny Driver tackle do Bowen's music proud and show why he deserves to be more than just a footnote in music history.


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Comments [1]

Kenneth Bennett Lane, Lake Hiawatha, NJ from Richard Wagner Music Drama Institute, Boonton, NJ

In the 1960s Stokowski, "Stokie", was invited to return as THE maestro again for the Philadelphia Orchestra.
He had been conducting the Houston Symphony Orchestra and the invitation excited him. I was performing in
Houston at the time and he advised me through his friend Natasha to prepare the role of Waldemar in Schoenberg's Gurre-Lieder to audition that role with him at his home in New York in an apartment house across from the Metropolitan Museum of Art. My rendition met with his approval. But the Board of Directors of the Philadelphia Orchestra regarded the Gurre-Lieder as too ambitious financially. Disappointed he told them Gurre-Lieder or nothing. They did not relent. He returned to conducting the Houston Symphony Orchestra. Sadly, he should have capitulated to return in triumph to the Philadelphia Orchestra. His apartment in New York, with a view of the front of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, contained the gong and other items from his film Fantasia and many African sculptures and artifacts of his wide-ranging, geographically and musically, career. His charisma was SO much Hollywood that when he was conducting an orchestra the sound seemed to glow with an aura unique to him. Toscanini, Beecham and Stokowski had that special "presence" which communicated to their audiences. I am a Wagnerian heldentenor, opera composer [ "Shakespeare"and "The Political Shakespeare], and director of the Richard Wagner Music Drama Institute. My singing may be heard at the RECORDED SELECTIONS venue on my website in 37 out of the 100 selections that I have sang in four three-hour-long solo concerts in the main hall, the Isaac Stern Auditorium, of CARNEGIE HALL. On last Sunday October 27th at 5 PM, at the NEWLIFE EXPO at the New Yorker Hotel I sang my fourth concert in New York of the series "The 300 Greatest Love Songs of Broadway Musicals, Movies, and The Grammys." The 300 Love Songs on ten DVDs recorded live on the VALHALLA RECORDS label will be obtainable commercially on February 14th, 2014, Saint Valentine's Day.

Nov. 06 2013 08:53 PM

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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.