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Andrew Aronowicz

Schubert, arr. Venzago: The Finished “Unfinished” – Symphony No 8

Everyone loves a good mystery, and it’s probably for that reason everyone loves the Unfinished Symphony. Frankly, if Schubert had left us with it complete, the work wouldn’t be half as popular as it is now. But when the serene final chord of that gentle Andante second movement dies away, curiosity quickly takes hold. Where is that elusive second half? Is it lost? Did it ever exist? Many have tried to provide some answers to the enigma, and there is no consensus. Swiss conductor Mario Venzago believes he has the solution.

Satie: Piano Music Volume 2 (Noriko Ogawa)

Of all the oddballs in classical music, the French composer Erik Satie surely takes the cake. He was an artistic visionary and a bona fide eccentric, a friend to occultists, surrealists, and Dadaists, and a self-dubbed ‘phonometrist’. To describe him as ahead of his time would be something of an understatement. He wrote furniture music and produced a string of other musical experiments that prefigured Postmodernism.

Szymon Laks: Chamber Works (ARC Ensemble)

The Music in Exile series is a fantastic initiative by Canadian group ARC Ensemble (Artists of the Royal Conservatory). A spotlight on composers of suppressed music during the rise of Nazism, the most recent in the series looks at the chamber works of Paris-based Polish composer, Szymon Laks. Musically, Laks was something of a more cosmopolitan Bartók, with notes of Hindemith, Poulenc and even Prokofiev peppering his language. His works are infused with tuneful confidence, and many, particularly the Piano Quintet, draw on Polish folk tradition.

Suite Cubed (Umberto Clerici)

Bach’s six suites for solo cello are cornerstones of the repertoire, and since Casals, they’ve been championed by a host of the world’s greatest virtuoso cellists. The intimacy of the suites, their arcs and lines, and general architecture, are familiar to a great many listeners. There are countless recordings, ranging in interpretation of phrasing, bowing, and tempo, and each connoisseur will have their favourite. But none will have experienced a reinterpretation quite like Umberto Clerici’s.

Franck • Chausson: Violin Sonata, Concert (Isabelle Faust, Alexander Melnikov, Salagon Quartet)

German violin virtuosa Isabelle Faust and Russian pianist Alexander Melnikov have released an extensive list of recordings of chamber works by Beethoven, Brahms, Schubert, Schumann, Shostakovich and Weber. This, their most recent release, sees them dabbling in French repertoire, with two works by French romantics César Franck and Ernest Chausson.

Ravel: Daphnis and Chloé (Les Siècles, Ensemble Aedes/François-Xavier Roth)

Ravel called his glittering score to Daphnis et Chloé a ‘Symphonie choreographique’: essentially a ‘symphony with dance’, the perfect description for a work of such majesty, where the music really is centre-stage. The score is usually segmented into three suites for concert performance, making a hearing of the full version all too rare a treat. Thankfully François-Xavier Roth with period instrument orchestra Les Siècles and Ensemble Aedes deliver the full ballet on this recent release with Harmonia Mundi, with the most stunning results.

Ravel: Daphnis and Chloé (Les Siècles, Ensemble Aedes/Roth)

Ravel called his glittering score to Daphnis et Chloé a ‘Symphonie choreographique’: essentially a ‘symphony with dance’, the perfect description for a work of such majesty, where the music really is centre-stage. The score is usually segmented into three suites for concert performance, making a hearing of the full version all too rare a treat. Thankfully François-Xavier Roth with period instrument orchestra Les Siècles and Ensemble Aedes deliver the full ballet on this recent release with Harmonia Mundi, with the most stunning results.

Haydn: String Quartets Opp. 54 and 55 (London Haydn Quartet)

Naming your ensemble after a composer creates high expectations when it comes to performing their music, but the London Haydn Quartet certainly don’t disappoint. Brought together through their shared love of Franz Joseph’s string quartets, the group is distinguished from similar ensembles by its period approach to ‘Papa’ Haydn.

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