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  • JANUARY CD OF THE MONTH - Shostakovich

    Piano Concertos Nos. 1 and 2

    Arranged for piano by Boris Giltburg

    Rhys Owens, Trumpet*
    Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra
    Vasily Petrenko

    Shostakovich’s two Piano Concertos span a period of almost thirty years. With the permission of the composer’s family, Boris Giltburg has arranged the exceptionally dark, deeply personal and powerful String Quartet No. 8, thereby establishing a major Shostakovich solo piano composition.
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    Symphonies Nos. 1 and 2

    Jennifer Johnson Cano: Mezzo-Soprano1
    Jean-Yves Thibaudet: Piano2
    Baltimore Symphony Orchestra
    Marin Alsop

    Leonard Bernstein’s legendary 1943 Carnegie Hall conducting début brought his name to national attention, and the event was followed a few months later by the triumphant reception of his Symphony No. 1 ‘Jeremiah.’ This major symphonic statement explores a crisis in faith and employs Jewish liturgical sources, its final movement, Lamentation, being an anguished cry at the destruction of Jerusalem. Sharing the theme of loss of faith, Symphony No. 2 ‘The Age of Anxiety’ takes W.H. Auden’s poem of the same name and follows its four characters in their spiritual journey to hard-won triumph. Bernstein’s Symphony No. 3 ‘Kaddish’ can be heard on Naxos 8.559742.
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    Alban Berg


    Based on real events and playwright Georg Büchner’s starkly vehement text, Alban Berg’s tragic opera Wozzeck is an epoch-making work, in stark contrast to the previous high romantic ideals of the genre, that led Schoenberg to exclaim “now that’s what I call an opera!” Immensely powerful and heartbreakingly moving as a drama, Wozzeck explores the victimisation, despair and madness of a central character who has no place in society, its deeply humane message and sublimely innovative score firmly establishing it as a 20th-century masterpiece.
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    Orchestral Works 4 | Daphnis et Chloé

    Orchestre National de Lyon
    Leonard Slatkin

    Composed for Sergey Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes, Ravel’s ‘symphonie chorégraphique’ Daphnis et Chloé is based on a classical Greco-Roman love story set on the island of Lesbos. He described the work as ‘a vast musical fresco’, and with its extraordinarily passionate music, lush harmonies and orchestration, is considered both his masterpiece and the epitome of Impressionism in music. Orchestrated from the third of his Miroirs for piano, Ravel’s Une barque sur l’océan is an evocative portrayal of the ever-changing moods of the sea.
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    Maxwell Davis

    Sonata for Violin Alone


    Chamber music formed the central part of Sir Peter Maxwell Davies’ output in his later years, and the marvellously poised and largely introspective Sonata for Violin Alone,
    dedicated to Duccio Ceccanti, is among his final works. Also cast in a single movement, the Sonata for Violin and Piano is a fantasia that traces an imaginary walk through Rome, while the Piano Trio takes us on the lyrical wings of plainsong to the remote and craggy beauty of Fair Isle near the composer’s home in Orkney. The acclaimed Ceccanti brothers worked closely with Maxwell Davies, performing many premières of his music.

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