MSR Classics | What’s New from Newtown?
Happy New Year to one and all! The holidays have already come and gone, and we are now faced with another New Year in which we must make our way. 2023 holds great promise - let's make it a good one. As we begin anew, we invite the curious music listener to explore the new material from MSR. From time-worn favorites to exciting discoveries, there's plenty here to engage and enlighten. Read on below for brief introductions to What's New from Newtown.
The newest of the new is an utterly - and I mean Utterly - fascinating 2-CD set featuring the CLAVIER-ÜBUNG III of Johann Sebastian Bach as rendered by pipe organ alternating with bayan accordion. Unorthodox? Absolutely. Does it work? Absolutely. The architect and artist of this musical sojourn is Marko Petricic, as adventurous a musician working in Bach as I have ever known. The performances are captured brilliantly in a demonstration-class recording. Moving to the more conventional but equally as impactful, we come upon the solo debut recording of violinist Qian Yin, supported with great poise by pianist Po-Chuan Chiang. Yin has chosen sonatas by BRAHMS and FRANCK for her debut, and the performances heard here bode well for a long and fruitful performing career. The all-too-rare combination of poetry and precision is apparent in the playing heard here - I look forward to what's next from this impressive team. It's always a good thing - a very good thing - when world-class pianist James Brawn drops another volume in his BEETHOVEN ODYSSEY series, and here we are this month with No.7, which features the composer's last three sonatas. In BEETHOVEN'S PIANO SONATAS NOS.30-32, Brawn has perhaps outdone himself in rendering the music in such a way as to bring only and exactly the right amount of James to Ludwig. The nuances in his playing, beautifully captured in the UK's remote Potton Hall, transcend the usual experience of hearing Beethoven. Something very special is going on here. As if the aforementioned wouldn't be enough to satisfy a listener's musical appetite, January 2023 brings forth veteran pianist Flavio Varani in stunningly beautiful and endearingly playful performances of SEVEN PIANO PIECES by Frenchman PAUL PARAY. Varani paints Paray's charming, accessible music using an enormous musical palette. One wonders if there are actually no more colors that could be coaxed from 88 ivory keys. The CD annotation is copious, and is presented in both English and French. Moving into the world of wind instruments - specifically brass - just in the door is CROSSING BARRIERS, which features new music for trumpet, horn and trombone. The Lantana Trio, comprised of trumpeter Raquel Samayoa, horn player Stacie Mickens and trombonist Natalie Mannix, premieres the repertoire with an equal measure of style and precision. As one listens to their performances, it becomes clear they share a musical language that is only ever the result of innumerable hours spent playing together. Brass enthusiasts need not hesitate to investigate - nor any other lover of music rendered in brass. Moving up an octave or two, we come upon a collection of flute music by Robert Raines. On INTO THE ETERNAL, Raines' second release on the MSR label, seven of the composer's works are heard in committed, beautifully inflected performances. Because the recordings were all made "Live In Concert" by several flute ensembles (and by Robert Raines himself), a special energy can be detected, and a feeling of honesty as well. Raines' music is always very "personal" in nature, and the numerous flutists and musicians heard here perform with that ethos in mind. Also new this month is Volume 2 of 20TH CENTURY MASTERPIECES FOR 2 PIANOS AND ORCHESTRA, featuring the renowned Pierce & Jonas piano duo. The first volume [MS1651] broke ground when it appeared, being an entirely unique collection of World Premiere Recordings of tremendously difficult, yet lively and accessible masterpieces. This new release is the second of a pair, rounding out the total number of works to a "baker's dozen". Both 2-CD sets offer bristling, definitive performances, many of which were rehearsed, performed and recorded under the supervision and with the support and approval of the composer. There has never been anything like these two releases, and likely never will be again. Joshua Pierce and the late great Dorothy Jonas give the performances of two lifetimes - and then some. Extensive notes and copious supporting images round out the picture. More new recordings from the keyboard (only one here) are just in: an enjoyable program of piano music by SCHUBERT - and by Schubert transformed by Liszt - in convincing performances by Pam Goldberg. The pianist's way with the music is rooted in honesty and precision, but also in the warmth of a romantic spirit. The experience of hearing Goldberg's pianism leaves one wanting to hear more from her.
FINES FACULTATIS COGNITOS TRANSGREDERE
“Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back. Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth, the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one's favor all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamed would have come his way. Whatever you can do, or dream you can do, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it. Begin it now.
[William H. Murray]
5 TRIOS FOR OBOE, CLARINET AND PIANO
Johann Sebastian Bach-Willet, Eduardo Destenay, Bill Douglas, Franz Schubert, Christos Tsitsaros
THE BOW AND THE BRUSH
14 Premieres for Unaccompanied Violin
Edmund Campion, Cindy Cox, Shinji Eshima, Dan Flanagan, Jose Gonzalez Granero, Peter Josheff, Libby Larsen, Linda Marcel, Jessica Mays, Evan Price, James Stephenson, Nathaniel Stookey, Trevor Weston
World Premiere Recordings
J.S. BACH: CLAVIER-ÜBUNG III
Organ and Bayan
Johann Sebastian Bach
BRAHMS & FRANCK: VIOLIN SONATAS
QIAN YIN AND PO-CHUAN …[MS1837]
A BEETHOVEN ODYSSEY - VOL.7
Piano Sonatas Nos.30, 31 & 32
PAUL PARAY - SEVEN PIANO PIECES
New Music for Brass Trio
INTO THE ETERNAL
Flute Music of Robert Raines