New Releases: Soothing Canadians and Red-Hot Russian Trios

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This week's featured releases include two recordings from Canada: the violinist Angèle Dubeau and her ensemble La Piéta performing introspective folk, pop and jazz arrangements, and the harpist Valérie Milot in early harp concertos. Plus, we sample some rich Russian chamber music played by Paris's Trio Wanderer.

Trio Wanderer
Piano Trios by Tchaikovsky & Arensky
Harmonia Mundi
Available at

While not quite a household name in the U.S., Trio Wanderer has been a fixture on the French music scene since its start at the Paris Conservatoire 25 years ago. The ensemble has recorded 13 albums for Harmonia Mundi and this one, release last fall, features a white-hot reading of Tchaikovsky's monumental Trio in A minor (dedicated to the memory of Nikolai Rubinstein). The group also presents a dynamic take on Arensky's lesser known, but sumptuously tuneful Trio in D minor.


Angèle Dubeau and La Piéta

Available at

Roughly a year ago, the Canadian violinist Angèle Dubeau was diagnosed with breast cancer. After taking some time off, she's picked up the violin again and resumed work with her all-female string ensemble La Piéta. Last month the group released “Blanc,” a collection of soothing contemporary pieces that the violinist turned to as she's battled the illness.

The collection features 14 pieces from 12 artists including some varied folk and jazz arrangements – of Cat Stevens, Shawn Phillips and Dave Brubeck – and three international film composers – Ryuichi Sakamoto, Enio Morricone and Joe Hisaishi. The most familiar names to WQXR listeners may be the Argentine-American composer Osvaldo Golijov and the fiddler-composer Mark O’Connor, each of whom represented with one of their quieter efforts. The mood stays introspective throughout and while some might find this to be a heavy dose of serenity, there’s no doubting its heartfelt inspiration. What’s more, a portion of the proceeds go towards breast cancer research.


Valérie Milot
Les Violons du Roy


Available at

Continuing with this week’s mellow Canadian theme is a recent collection of 17th and 18th-century harp concertos by the Quebec-born soloist Valérie Milot.

Let’s face it, you don’t hear so much of this repertoire in the concert hall. Milot brings a delicate, effervescent touch to Handel’s Concerto for Harp in B-flat Major (better known for its organ version, which was published two years later). Mozart's Concerto for Flute and Harp in C major, K. 299 (an unusual combination of instruments for the time) features the flutist Claire Marchand. And Francois-Adrian Boiedldieu’s Concerto for Harp in C Major has a particularly heavenly quality in Milot’s hands. Les Violons Du Roy, the Quebec City-based chamber orchestra led by Bernard Labadie, provides sensitive support throughout.