Bruckner: Symphony No. 7
Gürzenich Orchestra; François-Xavier Roth, conductor (Myrios)
Anton Bruckner, modernist trailblazer? So thinks François-Xavier Roth, one of many extra creative conductors working as we speak. Roth has been engaged on a Bruckner cycle along with his Gürzenich Orchestra in Cologne, Germany, of which that is the primary proof on document. For example the composer’s progressivism in live performance Roth, has carried out the Third Symphony with Ligeti, the Eighth with Lachenmann and this Seventh, which was taped stay in December 2019, with music by Graciane Finzi. The pairing doesn’t make it to disc; what’s left is Bruckner fairly totally different from the norm.
Not for Roth all that guff about “cathedrals of sound” — that is lighter, lither and sooner than the Bruckner we so typically hear, totally 10 minutes swifter than Andris Nelsons’s latest account of the identical piece with the Gewandhaus Orchestra of Leipzig. Absolutely influenced by his work along with his period-instrument ensemble, Les Siècles, Roth is much less fascinated with grand, architectural paragraphs than in briefer, accentuated phrases; scaling down a few of Bruckner’s textures, his emphasis shouldn’t be on gravity of utterance, however on number of sonority. It would take some getting used to, however that’s the purpose. And if I’m not but solely satisfied, it’s telling that I need to hear extra. DAVID ALLEN
Henze: ‘Nachtstücke und Arien’
ORF Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra; Marin Alsop, conductor (Naxos)
The conductor Marin Alsop has simply ended her tenure because the music director of the Baltimore Symphony, the primary lady in that place at one of many largest American ensembles. However she’s hardly via innovating, as on this highly effective tackle works by Hans Werner Henze.
Henze, generally programmed in Europe, shouldn’t be typically performed in the US, the place his repute is unsteady; he additionally paid for his large aesthetic vary. “Nachtstücke und Arien,” through which tonal melody coexists with dense abandon, scandalized radicals like Pierre Boulez when it premiered in 1957.
Along with her Vienna orchestra joined by the soprano Juliane Banse, Alsop has the measure of its mournful magnificence; within the first motion, early melodies for the winds have a relaxed, lounging high quality, typically set in opposition to nervier string writing. However this studying continues to be lots extreme within the motion’s moments of massed-pitch frenzy. All the Henze items on this set — which additionally consists of “Los Caprichos” and, with the cellist Narek Hakhnazaryan, “Englische Liebeslieder” — have been properly recorded in recent times on the Wergo label. However a few of these crisp takes can sound as if they’re nonetheless attempting to redeem Henze for Boulez’s starker ears. As Alsop makes clear, that’s not the one technique to hear him. SETH COLTER WALLS
‘Primavera II: The Rabbits’
Matt Haimovitz, cello (Pentatone)
The cellist Matt Haimovitz’s enjoying sizzles. And but over an extended program, it may be surprisingly simple to begin to neglect him. His ability turns into one thing you are taking without any consideration; it’s a humble technique to current virtuosity.
His newest contemporary-music automobile is a multivolume sequence, “Primavera,” through which he’s invited 81 composers to reply to spring-indebted work by Botticelli and the up to date artist Charline von Heyl. After his personal association of the Kyrie from Josquin’s Missa Hercules Dux Ferrariae, we hear Missy Mazzoli’s tribute to the identical work — with a rhythmic gait that implies each Minimalism and American people dance.
The plunging motifs of Tomeka Reid’s “Volpaning” and the aggressive power of its climax, appear to depict a flying object discovering its most popular momentum solely as its journey is concluding. It’s energizing and heart-rending without delay. Taken alongside different worthy commissions by the likes of Sky Macklay, Jennifer Jolley and Alex Weston, Haimovitz’s makes a persuasive argument on behalf of his chosen composers, who take middle stage all through. SETH COLTER WALLS
Benjamin Appl, baritone; James Baillieu, piano (Alpha)
The baritone Benjamin Appl’s hat trick of Schubert recitals on the Park Avenue Armory in 2019 was one of the crucial promising New York debuts in recent times. He hasn’t been again since — his subsequent engagement, at Carnegie Corridor, was a pandemic casualty — however within the meantime, he has recorded a kind of Armory applications: the melancholy track cycle “Winterreise.”
As in New York, the pianist is James Baillieu, who is commonly extra deferential and measured than showy, even within the galloping “Die Submit.” But he’s additionally able to quiet stress, as in “Die Krähe,” and compliments the large emotional world inside the whispers of Appl’s method. Their “Gute Nacht” has the softness of recent snow, but additionally its harmful chill. That’s the important thing to Schubert’s sadly lovely music, and the explanation this “Frühlingstraum” is without delay attractive and shattering.
Appl handles the cycle’s sharp turns with affecting management, a storyteller’s thrall and, above all, belief within the textual content. He relishes the mercurial serenity of “Der Lindenbaum” and the major-key ending of the livid “Rückblick.” In “Die Wetterfahne,” he’s unafraid of slightly ugliness, which works till a barking climax.
All through — culminating in a frighteningly easy “Der Leiermann” — you’ll be able to hear the actorly qualities that gave one other Schubert cycle Appl sang on the armory, “Die Schöne Müllerin,” the form of a real monodrama. That’s an excellent higher match for him; I hope he information it subsequent. JOSHUA BARONE
‘Uncovered,’ Vol. 2: Florence B. Value
Catalyst Quartet; Michelle Cann, piano (Azica)
The Catalyst Quartet’s “Uncovered” sequence has shortly change into one of the crucial worthwhile recording tasks round, notable not only for the intense consideration that the quartet is paying to Black composers who deserve it, but additionally for the excellence of their enjoying. Samuel Coleridge-Taylor was the main focus of the primary launch; Florence Value, of the second, which presents six works, 4 of them premiere recordings, with the help of the pianist Michelle Cann and the violinist Abi Fayette, who joined the quartet after the latest departure of the composer Jessie Montgomery. (Subsequent up are William Grant Nonetheless, Coleridge-Taylor Perkinson and George Walker.)
The 2 largest works right here, a piano quintet and string quartet, each in A minor, date to the mid-Thirties and are within the lush, epic type — weaving distinctive religious idioms into inherited types — that has change into acquainted from Value’s contemporaneous First and Third symphonies. The 4 different works are fairly totally different: a two-movement, seemingly unfinished String Quartet in G (1929) that has a hanging sluggish motion contrasting poignant lyricism with darkly comedic episodes; an undated piano quartet, concise but efficient; and two late quartets, the “Negro Folksongs in Counterpoint” (from round 1947) and “5 Folksongs in Counterpoint” (1951), which concludes with a bravura setting of “Swing Low, Candy Chariot.” It begins off having one thing of Haydn’s “Emperor” Quartet to it, however ends with an power and conviction all Value’s personal. DAVID ALLEN