Janine Jansen in Schoenberg and Schubert from Decca

From  Decca Classics, Dutch violinist Janine Jansen celebrates the 10th anniversary of her Utrecht-based International Chamber Music Festival by releasing a new album coupling two of the most heart-felt masterpieces of the Viennese romantic repertoire – Schubert’s String Quintet in C major (D. 956) and Schoenberg’s string sextet Verklärte Nacht – in performances recorded with close musical friends and colleagues. Jansen recently fronted this same Schubert/Schoenberg coupling in a standing-room-only concert to end her 2011/12 residency at London’s Wigmore Hall.



BARTOK: CONCERTO FOR ORCHESTRA/KOSSUTH; Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra, Cornelius Meister CPO 777 784-2 SACD  The idea of coupling Bartok’s final orchestral work with one of his earliest is an interesting, though not unique one.  It certainly allows the listener to contrast the enormous development in the composer’s style from the Straussian influences present in ‘Kossuth’ (1903) to the unique sound world and consummate command of the orchestra of his final years. ‘Kossuth’, a symphonic poem for large orchestra is in ten linked sections, nine of which are given explanatory titles. Continue reading

Persuasive Tannhäuser from Marek Janowski

TANNHAUSER Soloists,Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin/Rundfunkchor Berlin/Marek Janowski PTC 5186 405 (3  SACD)  According to Cosima Wagner’s diaries, a few weeks before his death in 1883 Wagner declared that he “still owed the world a Tannhäuser” and from the time of the opera’s première the composer frequently made revisions to the score, but still remained fundamentally dissatisfied with the work. Fundamentally, ‘Tannhäuser’ exists in two versions; the original Dresden setting of 1845 and the Paris version of 1861 (really the Vienna version of 1875 as Wagner translated the libretto from French back to German). The latter, crucially made after Wagner had written Tristan und Isolde, is not only longer, thanks mainly to the added ‘Bacchanale’, but possesses a harmonic richness and increased chromaticism in keeping with Wagner’s mature style. Continue reading


The new label Odradek Records, which won its first BBC Music Magazine Award for pianist Mei Yi Foo,  is to be distributed in the UK and Ireland by Proper Note. The label’s first five discs will be released here on Monday 22 April. They are headed by Musical Toys – with music by Gubaidulina, Unsuk Chin and Ligeti – by the Malaysian pianist, Mei Yi Foo. She gives a recital that includes Chin’s Piano Etudes, at Kings Place on Wednesday 17 April. The other recordings include Schoenberg’s Complete Piano Works performed by Pina Napolitano, Liszt and Granados played by pianist Domenico Codispoti and Stravinsky, Hindemith and Ravel from the piano four-hands Duo Miho & Masumi Hio.


New Bach/Podger SACD from Channel Classics

JS Bach’s Double & Triple Concertos will be available in May fron Rachel Podger & Brecon Baroque in a new SACD from Channel Classics. Brecon Baroque was founded in 2007 by violinist and director Rachel Podger as resident ensemble at her annual Brecon Baroque Festival. The international line-up consists of some of the leading lights in the period-instrument world.