Pianist Víkingur Ólafsson pays tribute to the master of minimal music, Philip Glass, who recently turned 80 years old. Described by The New York Times as a “splendid pianist” and by Piano News as an “immense talent,” Ólafsson is much sought-after by international conductors, orchestras and artists as both a chamber and concert musician. In addition to the Etudes for solo piano, the album includes reworks of the originals for piano and string quartet.
Soprano Renée Fleming is joined by Sakari Oramo and the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra. Selections include Samuel Barber’ “Knoxville: Summer of 1915” and “The Strand Settings,” a four-song cycle by Anders Hillborg which was commissioned by Carnegie Hall and is dedicated to Fleming. The album concludes with three new arrangements of songs by Bjork.
1) Samuel Barber: “Knoxville: Summer of 1915, Op. 24”
Renee Fleming, soprano
Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra
Sakjari Oramo, conductor
Pianist Jan Lisiecki’s new release “Chopin: Works for Piano and Orchestra” features pieces in the so-called “brilliant style,” a form of virtuosic pianism cultivated in the early 1800s by some of the leading performer-composers of the day. During his formative years in Warsaw, Chopin applied the style to such works for piano and orchestra as the Grande Polonaise Brillante (Op.22) and Rondo à la Krakowiak in F major (Op.14).
The Cypress String Quartet recently celebrated their 20th anniversary and this is their “final” recording together. They are joined by longtime collaborators Barry Shiffman (viola) and Zuill Bailey (cello). The performances of the Brahms String Sextets were recorded before a live studio audience at Skywalker Sound in California.
Pianist Maurizio Pollini presents some of the later works by Frederic Chopin. These include Op. 59 through Op. 64, written between 1845 and 1849. Richard Morrison from The London Times states “Pollini’s approach is elegant rather than flamboyant but turbulence lurks beneath the surface . . . Without tearing apart the fabric, he is constantly underlining elements that destabilize: chromatic meandering, disruptive trills, the tension between lyricism and meter. Fascinating, and the virtuosity is still there.”