Bruckner: Symphony No. 7
Gürzenich Orchestra; François-Xavier Roth, conductor (Myrios)
Anton Bruckner, modernist trailblazer? So thinks François-Xavier Roth, one of many more inventive conductors working right this moment. 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 instance 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 reside 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 usually hear, totally 10 minutes swifter than Andris Nelsons’s recent account of the identical piece with the Gewandhaus Orchestra of Leipzig. Certainly influenced by his work along with his period-instrument ensemble, Les Siècles, Roth is much less enthusiastic about grand, architectural paragraphs than in briefer, accentuated phrases; scaling down a few of Bruckner’s textures, his emphasis will not be on gravity of utterance, however on number of sonority. It’ll take some getting used to, however that’s the purpose. And if I’m not but solely satisfied, it’s telling that I wish 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 girl in that place at one of many largest American ensembles. However she’s hardly by means of innovating, as on this highly effective tackle works by Hans Werner Henze.
Henze, generally programmed in Europe, will not be usually performed in the US, the place his status is unsteady; he additionally paid for his broad 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, usually set in opposition to nervier string writing. However this studying continues to be a lot 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 nicely recorded in recent times on the Wergo label. However a few of these crisp takes can sound as if they’re nonetheless making an attempt to redeem Henze for Boulez’s starker ears. As Alsop makes clear, that’s not the one method to hear him. SETH COLTER WALLS
‘Primavera II: The Rabbits’
Matt Haimovitz, cello (Pentatone)
The cellist Matt Haimovitz’s enjoying sizzles. And but over a protracted program, it may be unusually straightforward to begin to neglect him. His talent turns into one thing you are taking without any consideration; it’s a humble method to current virtuosity.
His newest contemporary-music car is a multivolume collection, “Primavera,” through which he’s invited 81 composers to answer 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 means each Minimalism and American people dance.
The plunging motifs of Tomeka Reid’s “Volpaning” and the aggressive vitality of its climax, appear to depict a flying object discovering its most well-liked momentum solely as its journey is concluding. It’s energizing and heart-rending directly. 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 vital 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 type of Armory applications: the melancholy tune 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 Put up.” But he’s additionally able to quiet stress, as in “Die Krähe,” and compliments the broad emotional world throughout the whispers of Appl’s strategy. Their “Gute Nacht” has the softness of contemporary snow, but additionally its harmful chill. That’s the important thing to Schubert’s sadly lovely music, and the explanation this “Frühlingstraum” is directly beautiful 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 a bit ugliness, which works till a barking climax.
All through — culminating in a frighteningly easy “Der Leiermann” — you may 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 a good higher match for him; I hope he data it subsequent. JOSHUA BARONE
‘Uncovered,’ Vol. 2: Florence B. Worth
Catalyst Quartet; Michelle Cann, piano (Azica)
The Catalyst Quartet’s “Uncovered” collection has shortly turn into one of many most worthwhile recording projects around, 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 first release; Florence Worth, of the second, which affords 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 current 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-Nineteen Thirties and are within the lush, epic type — weaving distinctive non secular idioms into inherited varieties — that has turn into acquainted from Worth’s contemporaneous First and Third symphonies. The 4 different works are fairly totally different: a two-movement, doubtless unfinished String Quartet in G (1929) that has a placing 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 vitality and conviction all Worth’s personal. DAVID ALLEN