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Cally Banham:

Tango to the Cor

Saint Louis Symphony Solo English horn player Cally Banham releases her second solo album Tango to the Cor, available now on all streaming services and at callybanham.com.

Like the artist’s previous release Cor Christmas, this new recording features the English horn in a collection of new arrangements which merge the classical style with elements of jazz and tango. This album showcases a series of expressive tangos, ranging from whimsical dance standards to robust concert works, from composers Astor Piazzolla, Igor Stravinsky, Carlos Gardel, Augustín Bardi and more.

Also included is an offering of folkloric Argentine chacarera, and a new adaptation of Osvaldo Golijov’s introspective work Tenebrae, transcribed by Cally Banham.

Miss Banham is joined by her own ensemble founded in 2013, Cortango, and by guitarist W. Mark Akin, percussionists William James, Kevin Bowers, and Miles Vandiver, and organist Nate Hershey.

Norman Krieger:

plays Gershwin w/Prague National Symphony

Norman Krieger joins forces with the Prague National Symphony, under the direction of Neal Gittleman for a wonderful album of Gershwin.

A native of Los Angeles, Norman Krieger is one of the most acclaimed pianists of his generation and is highly regarded as an artist of depth, sensitivity and virtuosic flair. As the Los Angeles Times put it, “Krieger owns a world of technique-take that for granted. He always knows exactly where he is going and what he is doing. He never for instant miscalculates. He communicates urgently but with strict control. He is alert to every manner of nuance and at every dynamic level his tone flatters the ear.”

Myung -Whun Chung, Donald Runnicles, Leonard Slatkin, Michael Tilson Thomas, Jaap van Zweden and Zubin Mehta are just a few of the conductors with whom Krieger has collaborated. Krieger regularly appears with the major orchestras of North America, among them the New York Philharmonic, Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Chicago Symphony, Minnesota Orchestra and the National Symphony. He has performed throughout Europe, Asia and South America including tours of Germany, France, Poland, Holland Scandinavia, Korea, China, New Zealand and Israel. He recently performed at the PyeongChang Music festival in Korea. In September 2014, he recorded the Brahms Sonata Op. 1 and the Piano Concerto No. 2 with the London Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Philip Ryan Mann, which will be released on Decca. 

In recital, Krieger has appeared throughout the United States, Europe, Mexico and Asia, while chamber music collaborations have included appearances with soprano Sheri Greenawald, violinists Paul Huang, Sarah Chang, Pamela Frank and Mihaela Martin, violist Nobuko Imai, cellists Myung Wha Chung, Jian Wang, Edward Aaron and Frans Helmersen as well as the Tokyo string quartet. His debut at New York City’s prestigious Carnegie Hall and Mostly Mozart Festival earned him an immediate invitation to Lincoln Center’s Great Performers Series. Krieger made headlines by being named the Gold Medal Winner of the first Palm Beach Invitational Piano Competition. 

He began his studies in Los Angeles under the tutelage of Esther Lipton. At age 15, he became a full-scholarship student of Adele Marcus at The Juilliard School where he earned both his Bachelor and Master degrees. Subsequently, he studied with Alfred Brendel and Maria Curcio in London and earned an Artist Diploma from the New England Conservatory, where he worked with Russell Sherman.

A champion of contemporary music, he features the music of John Adams, Leonard Bernstein, John Corigliano, Daniel Brewbaker, Donald Crockett, Judith St. Croix, Lukas Foss, Henri Lazarof and Lowell Liebermann among his active repertoire.

Krieger is the founding artistic director of The Prince Albert Music Festival in Hawaii. Since 2008, he has served on the summer faculty at the Brevard Music Festival in North Carolina. From 1997 to 2016 he was a professor at the Thornton School of Music at the University of Southern California. In August 2016 he was appointed Professor of Piano and Dean Charles H. Webb Chair in Music at the Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University.

Celebrating his twenty-ninth season as Artistic Director of the Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra, NEAL GITTLEMAN enjoys a career and reputation of international dimensions. With the historic merger of the Dayton Ballet, Dayton Opera and Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra into the Dayton Performing Arts Alliance in 2012, his expanded conducting duties include frequent performances with the Ballet and Opera. During the current season, Mr. Gittleman leads ballet performances of Austin Jaquity’s Dracula: Bloodlines, the annual holiday production of Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker and the same composer’s Swan Lake, and operatic productions of Sondheim’s Sweeney Todd and Puccini’s Tosca.

A native of Brooklyn, New York, Neal Gittleman graduated from Yale UniveA native of Brooklyn, New York, Neal Gittleman graduated from Yale University in 1975. He continued his musical studies with the eminent teachers Nadia Boulanger and Annette Dieudonné in Paris, Hugh Ross at the Manhattan School of Music and Charles Bruck at both the Pierre Monteux Domaine School and the Hartt School of Music, where he was the recipient of the Karl Böhm Fellowship. In 1984, he was the Second Prize Winner of Geneva's Ernest Ansermet International Conducting Competition, and, two years later, he was awarded Third Prize at the Leopold Stokowski Conducting Competition in New York City. In 1989, he was selected for the American Conductors Program at the American Symphony Orchestra League's annual conference in San Francisco. Mr. Gittleman was awarded a 2014 Governor’s Award for the Arts in Ohio.

PaTRAM Institute Male Choir:

Rachmaninoff All-Night Vigil w/Ekaterina Antonenko

Rachmaninoff’s “All-Night Vigil” was released on March 23rd. Maestra Ekaterina Antonenko, conducted the 52-member PaTRAM Institute Male Choir, a GRAMMY®-nominated ensemble, which sang the world premiere arrangement adapted for male choir, with Igor Morozov, Evgeny Kachurovsky and Alexis V. Lukianov as the featured soloists. The singers hail from Russia, Serbia, North America, and Australia.

The PaTRAM Institute All-Male Choir™ recorded the CD from June 22nd thru June 25th, 2022 at the Church of the Ascension on the Mount of Olives, with multi-Grammy award winning production company, Soundmirror, led by multi-Grammy winning producer Blanton Alspaugh and multi-Grammy winning recording engineer, John Newton.

The reviews of the new CD have begun to be published and are stellar, even exuberant. Ralph Moore, of MusicWeb International said, “..this new version of Rachmaninov’s masterpiece is sung with great reverence and dignity; both the direction and the engineering are impeccable.” 

Also, from MusicWeb International, John Quinn, Editor in Chief, exuberantly stated, “Listening to this performance has been a profound and thrilling experience. The singing is outstanding; it’s technically beyond reproach and also full of fervour. The choir produces the richest sound you could wish to hear... This is, in short, an exceptional performance.” 

Alexis Lukianov, Founder and Chairman of PaTRAM Institute said, “It was so moving to be in the Holy Land to worship, perform and record Rachmaninoff’s beautiful music in Jerusalem and Gethsemane, as well as to sing and pray at the many sacred sites. This truly was an epic tour for our choir. We are overjoyed and humbled to visit the holiest of holy places."

About PaTRAM (Patriarch Tikhon Russian American Music Institute) 

The mission of PaTRAM Institute™ is to foster the authentic and original splendor of Russian Orthodox choral music together with its astounding spiritual depth, in both the English and Slavonic languages.

PaTRAM Institute performs world-class, professional recordings in unique venues featuring its award-winning international ensembles; distinctive concert performance events; and educational programs.

PaTRAM is a non-profit 501-c3 organization in their 10th year of existence and headquartered in Tiburon, CA. 

Fred Hersch:

Silent, Listening

Silent, Listening is both a highly individual musical offering and an important contribution to ECM’s line of innovative solo piano recordings. It finds US pianist Fred Hersch, one of jazz’s most outstanding soloists, putting a poetic emphasis on alert, open improvisation while also embracing original compositions and a scattering of standard tunes in his album’s graceful creative arc. Interspersing songs and spontaneously composed pieces, Hersch shapes and sustains a musical atmosphere that he describes as “nocturnal”, an atmosphere of heightened sensitivity to sound.

Shabaka:

Percieve its Beauty, Acknowledge its Grace

After putting down the saxophone, the instrument he has become synonymous with, Shabaka returns with his first full length album under his own name. 

Expanding off the meditative 2022 EP Afrikan Culture, his new album Perceive its beauty, Acknowledge its Grace is a deeply moving suite of primarily instrumental music. 

The listening experience is reflective and contemplative, with passages flowering from one musical concept to the next, encouraging deep attention that rewards the listener with throughlines and motifs throughout the record. 

Shabaka is found playing the flute on this album, and has enlisted key artists such as Andre 3000, Lianne La Havas, Moses Sumney, Floating Points, and more to help build this all-encompassing aural landscape.

ALL PRESS SECURED BY PITCH PERFECT PR

Timo Andres:

The Blind Banister

Nonesuch releases composer/pianist Timo Andres’ The Blind Banister on March 22, 2024. The album comprises three works by Andres: the composer’s third piano concerto, The Blind Banister, with Andres as soloist, and Upstate Obscura for chamber orchestra and cello, with soloist Inbal Segev—both of which feature Metropolis Ensemble and conductor Andrew Cyr—and the solo piano piece Colorful History, also performed by the composer. The third movement of Upstate Obscura, “Vanishing Point,” is available today.

The Blind Banister was written for pianist Jonathan Biss to be performed alongside Beethoven’s second concerto. Andres says, “My piece is not a pastiche or an exercise in palimpsest. It doesn’t quote or reference Beethoven. There are some surface similarities to his concerto (a three-movement structure, a B–flat tonal center) but these are mostly red herrings. The best way I can describe my approach to writing the piece is: I started writing my own cadenza to Beethoven’s concerto, and ended up devouring it from the inside out.” The piece was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in 2016.

Gabriel Olafs:

Orchestral Works w/ Reykjavik Orkestra, VOA

Gabríel Ólafs has fallen in love with the orchestra. “The way this collective of amazing players becomes one is awesome,” he says, “there’s nothing like hearing a symphony orchestra play.” Marking five years as a professional composer and recording artist, Ólafs’ latest album dives right into this inspiring world. Orchestral Works features orchestral arrangements of thirteen of his favorite pieces, but it’s far from being a simple “best of”. “It’s very much a standalone work based on my best melodies, themes and motifs,” he says, “I created a new work from them. I followed what made me excited. In my opinion, it’s my best album yet.”

The Icelandic pianist and composer, 25, whose music has been streamed over 200 million times, had a wealth of pieces on his three solo albums to choose from. The opening Melodia Suite begins, aptly, with the work that set him on his creative path at just 14, the waltzing Absent Minded. It’s completed by one of his most popular pieces, the richly melodic Filma, from his album Piano Works. There’s a nod to his passion for film in the cinematic orchestral work Fantasía, from Lullabies, but at the heart of the album is music from Solon Islandus, Ólafs’ homage to Icelandic culture and his Decca Records US debut. “The goal was to turn it into a symphony,” he explains. “It’s my Symphony No. 1.”

Cody Fry:

Acoustic Sessions

Decca Records US is proud to present Acoustic Sessions – a new production by Cody Fry.

In November 2023, Cody Fry captured 5x live-in-studio performances at a studio in Nashville with cast of talented musical friends. The songs – selected from Cody’s most recent album The End, plus some favorites from his catalog – are here reinvented in a stripped-back, casual, and intimate small group setting.

Acoustic Sessions will be released as a 5-track digital EP and 5x performance videos.

TIMELINE
2/14 – Things You Said (Acoustic Sessions) | SINGLE + VIDEO
3/29 – London (Acoustic Sessions) | SINGLE + VIDEO
4/19 – What If (Acoustic Sessions) | SINGLE + VIDEO
5/10 – Acoustic Sessions (EP)
“If Only My Heart Could Speak” | FOCUS TRACK + VIDEO

Madeleine Peyroux:

'Please Come On Inside' from Lets Walk

Acclaimed jazz singer, songwriter and interpreter Madeleine Peyroux will release Let’s Walk, her first album in six years, on June 28th. The new songs present sides of the artist only touched on in the past. The collection is her most diverse, intimate and bold work as she shares thoughtful and revealing views on personal and societal concerns. Peyroux offers hope through understanding and community by using one of our most unifying means, music.

Let’s Walk is Peyroux’s ninth album and the first in which she co-wrote every song with longtime collaborator Jon Herington. As evidenced from her new single “Please Come On Inside”, Peyroux has empathy and wisdom to impart. While many of us have lost a connection or a relationship with someone close due to these polarizing and divisive times, Peyroux offers a way back through compassion and kindness. 

Stylistically, Let’s Walk may be Peyroux’s most varied yet cohesive collection thus far. She incorporates elements of jazz, folk, gospel blues, Americana, chamber pop, Latin rhythms and a little playful humor into the mix. The songs are interwoven around contemplative, observational and confessional narratives, making it the deepest and most substantive album of her illustrious catalog.

Yo-Yo Ma, Emanuel Ax, Leonidas Kavakos:

Beethoven for Three - Symph No. 4, Op. 97 Archduke

Emanuel Ax, Leonidas Kavakos, and Yo-Yo Ma release the latest in their Beethoven for Three series, Symphony No. 4 and Op. 97, “Archduke," on Sony Classical — available everywhere now. Accompanying today’s release is a new video of the trio performing one of the most widely loved works in classical music, the first movement of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5 — watch here.  

Like the artists' two previous Beethoven for Three releases, this new recording challenges the traditional distinction between chamber and orchestral repertoire, pairing the unforgettable "Archduke" trio with one of the composer's most internally varied symphonies, thoughtfully re-arranged for piano, violin, and cello by Shai Wosner. Beethoven for Three: Symphony No. 4 and Op. 97, “Archduke" is the latest chapter in three friends’ ongoing exploration of what Beethoven’s invention means for musicians and audiences today.  The Beethoven for Three series features three artists in pursuit of the essential elements of Beethoven's musical language, presenting Beethoven's most iconic symphonies in intimate arrangements that maintain the power and immediacy of his orchestral works. By performing the symphonies on three instruments alongside the composer’s canonical piano trios, the artists present a wealth of insight into both Beethoven and his earliest audiences.  ?“We all feel that being able to participate in a symphony is such a wonderful thing to do,” says Ma. “One of the things that has separated people since recording began is the categories that we put people in, in which chamber musicians, orchestra players, people who play concertos, people who do transcriptions, people who compose, people who conduct, are all viewed as separate categories with no overlap. That siloed thinking discourages actual creativity and collaboration between people. And so we feel that one of the things that is really important to do today is to actually go back to the first principles of music, the simple interaction between friends who want to do something together."  

Sergei Babayan - Daniil Trifonov:

Rachmaninoff for Two

Daniil Trifonov and his friend and mentor, Sergei Babayan, present their first full album of piano duets. Rachmaninoff for Two contains performances of the Russian composer’s two Suites for two pianos and the two-piano version of his Symphonic Dances, together with Trifonov’s own transcription of the Adagio from Symphony No. 2. Set for release by Deutsche Grammophon digitally and on 2 CDs on 29 March 2024, the album pays tribute to one of the world’s most beloved pianist-composers, as part of this year’s Rachmaninoff 150 celebrations.

The duo recorded Rachmaninoff for Two at the Vienna Konzerthaus soon after performing there in May 2023 as part of their acclaimed series of Rachmaninoff concerts across Europe. Austria’s Die Presse described their Vienna concert as a “keyboard virtuosos’ festival”, and the Wiener Zeitung hailed the “ravishing kaleidoscope of emotions and colours” achieved in the Symphonic Dances, while another reviewer, writing about their performance in Brussels, called Babayan and Trifonov “worthy heirs” to Rachmaninoff’s “human complexity” and noted their “incredible symbiotic capacity” (Classykeo.com).

Discussing their chosen repertoire for the tour and album, Sergei Babayan acknowledges Rachmaninoff as a genius of the highest calibre, both as a composer and as a pianist who appeared to be blessed with four hands. “When he writes for two players at two pianos, we mortals have the chance to experience how he played on just one piano,” he observes. 

Elina Garanca:

When Night Falls...

Full of ambivalent sensations, colours and shades, night-time has long been special to Elina Garanca. “For some people, the night can be full of fear and uncertainty. It’s a time when you’re alone and confronted with yourself,” she says. And yet it can also bring peace. “The world calms down and falls asleep, and we humans can find calm as well.” Garanca’s new Deutsche Grammophon album, When Night Falls ..., set for release on World Sleep Day (15 March 2024), embraces all these nuances, reflecting the night from twilight to the darkness of the early hours, in songs with orchestral, chamber or solo-instrument accompaniment. The mezzo-soprano has chosen her selection of pieces with a view to conjuring “that time of day when you withdraw from the world, come home, close the door and focus exclusively on your own life, in a safe environment”. 

This is the guiding thought behind the dramatic arc of When Night Falls … The album takes listeners from the rich colours of sunset, a time when the hustle and bustle of the day may still be reverberating, to the intimacy and silence of the night. It opens with three works for voice and orchestra – Richard Strauss’s Wiegenlied (“Lullaby”: “Träume, träume, du mein süßes Leben” – “Dream, dream, you sweet life of mine”), Falla’s Asturiana and the Abendsegen, or “Evening Prayer”, from Humperdinck’s opera Hänsel und Gretel, in which Garanca sings both parts, thanks to overdubbing, which she calls a “fascinating experiment”. The singer is accompanied in all three by the Orquesta Filarmónica de Gran Canaria, conducted by Karel Mark Chichon.
Garanca also performs a number of songs with a chamber ensemble. In two of Berio’s Folk Songs she is accompanied by the Berlin Music Ensemble, while for Brahms’s Wiegenlied (“Guten Abend, gut’ Nacht” – “Good evening, good night”) she is joined by oboist Albrecht Mayer and pianist Malcolm Martineau, who accompanies several other pieces as well, including Schubert’s Nacht und Träume.

Aleksi Glick:

World Traveler

World Traveler, the new album from guitarist and composer Aleksi Glick, straddles several genres with his dynamic trio while remaining true to his distinct musical voice and vision. Glick shows his depth as a guitarist, equally adept at delivering subtle melodies and blistering solos. His strength as a composer lies in his ability to create something new with the already familiar, giving his pieces a timeless feel. Featuring nine originals and one cover, the music moves seamlessly through Jazz to Blues, Americana to R&B, and Bossa Nova to Soul. Many of the compositions on World Traveler were inspired by Glick’s travels, including a few unusual places: a picturesque bench in a Japanese garden, the side of a road in Finland, a stoop in the middle of New Orleans, a seemingly mundane layover at an airport, and a rooftop in sunny LA, to name a few. Glick is joined by bassist Jeff Koch and drummer Nathan Ellman-Bell with guest appearances by vocalist Laureana (Olivia Chindamo), keyboardist and producer Adam Ahuja, and saxophonist Eric Trudel.

Rudolf Buchbinder:

Brahms * Reger Song Transcriptions

Universally recognised as one of the world’s greatest pianists, Rudolf Buchbinder has spent many years exploring the masterworks of Austro-German Classical and Romantic music. For his latest Deutsche Grammophon album he brings his intellectual expertise and interpretative insight to a neglected corner of that repertoire – Max Reger’s lovingly crafted transcriptions for solo piano of 28 songs by Johannes Brahms. Recorded in 2023, the 150th anniversary of Reger’s birth, Brahms · Reger – Song Transcriptions will be released digitally and on CD on 22 March 2024, while Buchbinder’s performances of Wiegenlied and In Waldeseinsamkeit are already available to stream or download.

As well as being a prolific composer in his own right, producing works in a wide range of genres, Reger was also a skilled arranger and editor of the music of others. One of the composers he most admired was Brahms, and in the early years of the 20th century, not long after the latter’s death in 1897, he accepted an invitation from the publisher Simrock to transcribe 14 of Brahms’s songs for solo piano. 

Six years later, shortly before his own death in 1916, he added another 14 to a collection notable for its fidelity to the original music. “These will not be transcriptions embellished with ‘brilliant’ passagework,” said Reger at the time. “In the case of such masterpieces, any embellishment and any attempt to introduce a note of brilliance would be an unheard-of act of vandalism. I mean to adopt a different approach by bringing out the vocal line and, where possible, retaining the original accompaniment in the most faithful way that I can!”

The New Orleans Klezmer All Stars:

Tipish

For nearly three decades, the New Orleans Klezmer All Stars’ wildly original sound has remained a cornerstone of one of the most unique and culturally significant live music scenes in the world. Tipish, the band's first studio album in nearly a decade is out April 23, and this diverse collection of seven original compositions and two traditionals finds the Klezmers at a new echelon of musical development, clarity and cohesion. Recorded at New Orleans’ Happyland Theater in November 2023, without isolation booths or overdubs, Tipishfeatures a stunningly wide range of music, all of it as evocative and passionate as it is irreverent and playful. 

Tipish is also the first studio album to feature the Klezmers’ longtime horn section, with Ben Ellman (Galactic), Aurora Nealand (Royal Roses, The Monocle) and Dan Oestreicher (Trombone Shorty) on saxophones and Nick Ellman (Naughty Professor) on clarinet. Bassist Joe Cabral and drummer Doug Garrison (The Iguanas) round out the band, along with its co-founders, accordionist Glenn Hartman (Alex MacMurray Band, Lulu and the Broadsides) and guitarist/composer Jonathan Freilich (Washboard Chaz Blues Trio, Naked Orchestra, James Singleton’s Malabar).

Lucas Debargue:

Faure - Complete Music for Solo Piano

For his latest release on Sony Classical, pianist Lucas Debargue turns to one of the unsung treasuries of the piano repertoire - the works of Gabriel Fauré. In a remarkable undertaking, Debargue has recorded every note of his compatriot’s piano music - all on a newly designed piano rarely heard on record until now.

For many years, Debargue was mystified by what he describes as the ‘gentle melancholy and harmonic sophistication’ of Fauré’s piano music. He played the French composer’s early piano works but steered clear of the Bagatelles, Nocturnes and Preludes that enjoy a special reputation among certain pianists.

The turning point came when Debargue encountered Fauré’s Nine Preludes Op 103. These elusive masterpieces, written in 1910-11, ‘revealed the profound originality and mastery’ of the composer, says Debargue. They encompass, the pianist believes, ‘a vast emotional range from serene contemplation to extreme anguish.’

For his new recording, Debargue has reexamined Fauré’s entire output for piano, starting from the beginning. Across 4 CDs, he ‘retraces the journey that the composer had taken from his earliest works for the piano to his last contribution to the medium.’ Recording it, reports the pianist, has ‘transformed my life both as a person and as a musician.’

Nicolas Snyder:

Scavengers Reign - (ORIGINAL MAX SERIES SOUNDTRACK

Milan Records today releases SCAVENGERS REIGN (ORIGINAL MAX SERIES SOUNDTRACK) by composer NICOLAS SNYDER. Available everywhere now, the album features music written by Snyder for the first season of Max’s original sci-fi anime series. Taking place on the fictional planet of Vesta, Scavengers Reign required a sonic palette befitting its out-of-this-world setting. With sweeping orchestral melodies, regal piano themes, cerebral synthwork and moving vocal features, Snyder’s expansive 18-track collection pays homage to classic sci-fi scores while also providing an inimitable soundscape tailored to the series’ otherworldly setting. Lauded by the New York Times as, “a lush, magnificent, hypnotic story of human survival,” the critically acclaimed first season of Scavengers Reign is available now to stream in its entirety on Max.

Bryn Terfel:

Songs of the Sea

The call of the sea and the magnetic pull of home run through Bryn Terfel’s latest album for Deutsche Grammophon, Sea Songs, set for release digitally and on CD on 2 February 2024. Sir Bryn, who is marking his 30th anniversary as a DG artist this year, is joined on Sea Songs by a storied line-up of guest artists, including Sting, singer-songwriter Eve Goodman, baritone Sir Simon Keenlyside, the Cornish singing sensations Fisherman’s Friends, and traditional Welsh folk band Calan, in a programme of romantic sea shanties, spirited sailor songs and maritime folk tunes. “These songs are numerous and with an astonishing variety of tunes, many of them exceptionally beautiful, dramatic and memorable”, says the great Welsh bass-baritone.

Sea Songs was recorded in the intimate space of Acapela Studios in Pentyrch, near the Welsh capital Cardiff. Its songs come from the coasts of Wales, England, Ireland, Shetland, Brittany and far beyond, shining a light on words and music that helped generations of sailors face fair and foul weather. The album traces the strong ties that bind together the seafaring communities of different nations and celebrates their shared musical traditions. All tracks are newly arranged by Patrick Rimes.

“I cannot begin to explain how incredibly thrilled I am to return to the shanties and folk songs of the sea,” notes Bryn Terfel. “A North Wales farmer’s son who has always been rather obsessed with the 360-mile coastline of Northern Wales – Porthmadog, Pwllheli, Nefyn, to name but a few places that were always my safe harbour away from the daily routine: fishing, swimming, boats and ropes and all things nautical with days out at sea capped off with a welcome glass of whisky or rum at close of day. The call of the sea is strong and so too is the call to the folk songs of my homeland.” 

Lang Lang:

Saint-Saens w/Alice, Gewandhausorchester - Nelsons

Berlin, 1 March 2024. Classical favourites, revelatory discoveries and two large-scale works by Saint-Saëns make up the fantastic selection of French music on Chinese pianist Lang Lang’s latest recording. Released today by Deutsche Grammophon on 2 CDs, 2 LPs and digitally, Lang Lang – Saint-Saëns sees the artist join forces with his wife, pianist Gina Alice, the Gewandhausorchester and conductor Andris Nelsons. At the heart of the album are the magical Carnival of the Animals, Saint-Saëns’s “Grand Zoological Fantasy” for two pianos and orchestra, and the same composer’s virtuosic Piano Concerto No. 2. Also included are a dozen works for solo piano or piano four hands – a blend of Belle Époque favourites and neglected gems by female French composers.

Lang Lang’s decision to open the album with a work that has enchanted generations of young listeners and introduced millions to classical music reflects his mission to attract children to the genre. “Many of us remember Saint-Saëns’s famous Carnival of the Animals from childhood. There are a lot of clever ideas underneath all the fun. He’s making a real statement, but in a very humorous way,” says the pianist. “And of course it was wonderful to record it with my wife, Gina Alice.”

The artists’ reading of “Aquarium” is already available digitally, complete with performance video, as is the piano four hands arrangement of “The Swan” in which Lang Lang plays both parts, while “Fossils” comes out today alongside the album, again with a video. A filmed version of the full work from the Gewandhaus stage, with Andris Nelsons, Gina Alice and Lang Lang, is available to watch on STAGE+.

Iris Trio:

Project Earth - The Blue Chapter

The Iris Trio announces the release of their album, Project Earth: The Blue Chapter, available on the Centrediscs label on April 5, 2024. The first in the epic multi-chapter Project Earth series, The Blue Chapter features original compositions by Juno Award-winning composer and jazz pianist Florian Hoefner, with original poetry written and recited by Griffin Prize-winning poet Don McKay. The result is the collision of the Iris Trio’s virtuosity and “exquisite balance of sound” (Augsburger Allgemeine) with a remarkable new body of spellbinding chamber music, uniting inspiration from classical, jazz, and folk genres.

The Blue Chapter of Project Earth is the trio’s second album. With Project Earth, the ensemble strivesto illuminate the impact of human behaviour on the environment, addressing issues of climate change, pollution, habitat degradation, and biodiversity loss, while also giving centre stage to the immense beauty and wonder found in nature. The three original works comprising the album serve this mandate with artful, innovative creations that are in turns celebratory and elegiac.

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