Two Dramatic New Cello Releases

Cello-lovers everywhere rejoice! Here are two recent releases featuring cello music:

Beethoven Cello Sonatas

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The title pretty much says it all. This release on the Hyperion label covers all five cello sonatas written by the beloved German composer (as well as some of his variations on works by Handel and Mozart, plus an arrangement of his Horn Sonata in F major for cello and piano). The cello sonatas of Beethoven span all three of his composition periods, making this survey album not only a collection of great pieces for cello, but also an interesting look  at the musical growth of the composer himself. Beethoven’s sense of humor and drama remained constant throughout his career, and pianist Robert Levin and cellist Steven Isserlis truly let these qualities shine in their interpretation of each sonata. Levin and Isserlis play dynamically together, making for a truly captivating performance. Both use period instruments, which allows for closer adherence to the score and greater expressiveness within the framework of Beethoven’s original intentions.

If you were looking to add quality recordings of the Beethoven cello sonatas to your music library in one fell swoop, this album is perfect.

 

Zuill Bailey-Britten

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The cellistic drama continues on this Telarc release. Along with the North Carolina Symphony under Grant Llewellyn, Zuill Bailey performs the Cello Symphony of Benjamin Britten.  Originally written for the great cellist Mstislav Rostropovich, the work is intensely dramatic, beginning with an ominous rumble in the tubas before the cello enters, moaning. The most transfixing moment of the piece is the cadenza leading from the third to fourth movement, which is nothing but the lament in the cello and Bailey’s concentrated breathing.

Bailey also tackles the Cello Sonata in C major with pianist Natasha Paremski. This piece predates the Symphony and was the first that Britten wrote for Rostropovich. Like the Symphony, it is a virtuosic work which requires great technical precision from the performers as well as expressive playing. Paremski and Bailey meet both these demands, giving a tight yet moving performance.

Featured Album: Biss Plays Beethoven

Credit: Benjamin Ealovega

Bloomington, Indiana-native Jonathan Biss is working on recording Beethoven’s sonatas, and volume 3 is our Featured Album this week.  We’ll hear him play the Pastorale and Waldstein sonatas, as well as the unnamed Sonata No. 16. Did you know you can also take a class about Beethvoven’s sonatas taught by Mr. Biss? (Photo Credit: Benjamin Ealovega)

Live Broadcast: Chamber Music Festival of Lexington

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Join us this Friday and Saturday at 7pm for live broadcasts from the Chamber Music Festival of Lexington. Classical 90.5 Afternoon Host, Daniel Giliam, and Roger Duvall from WEKU/WKYL will host two of the final concerts from this year’s festival, with pre-show interviews and recordings starting at 7pm and joining the concerts at 7:30pm. Listen live at 90.5 FM (Louisville), 102.1 WKYL (Lexington) or anywhere right here at wuol.org.

Program (Subject to change):

Friday, August 23rd, 7:00pm

Ralph Vaughan-Williams, Merciless Beauty
Nicholas Phan, tenor
Nathan Cole and Akiko Tarumoto, violins
Priscilla Lee, cello

Ludwig van Beethoven, Sonata No. 9 in A for piano and violin, “Kreutzer”, Op. 47
Akiko Tarumoto, violin
Alessio Bax, piano

Ludwig van Beethoven, String Quartet in B-flat, Op. 18 No. 6
Nathan Cole and Akiko Tarumoto, violins
Burchard Tang, viola
Priscilla Lee, cello

Ralph Vaughan-Williams, On Wenlock Edge
Nicholas Phan, tenor
Alessio Bax, piano
Akiko Tarumoto and Nathan Cole, violins
Burchard Tang, viola
Priscilla Lee, cello

Saturday, August 24th, 7:00pm

Franz Schubert, Schwanengesang, D 957
Nicholas Phan, tenor
Alessio Bax, piano

Maurice Ravel, String Quartet in F
Akiko Tarumoto and Nathan Cole, violins
Burchard Tang, viola
Priscilla Lee, cello


Raymond Lustig, World Premiere Commission

Franz Schubert, Piano Trio No. 1 in B-flat, D 898
Alessio Bax, piano
Nathan Cole, violin
Priscilla Lee, cello

Elias String Quartet

Elias String Quartet will perform live from Carnegie Hall, Tuesday at 8pm. Here they perform the “Grosse Fuge” by Beethoven.

Philippe Quint plays Bruch, Beethoven and Mendelssohn

Our Featured Album this week comes from Philippe Quint, playing Bruch and Mendelssohn concertos and two Romances by Beethoven. Listen all this week with Alan Brandt and Daniel Gilliam for selections from this Featured Album.