Classical New Releases

Credit Wikimedia Images

Classical IPR regularly features new releases that we think our listeners will enjoy. Stay up to date on the latest classical albums of interest. 

Premiered in 1869, Edvard Grieg's Piano Concerto in A minor is one of the most popular piano concertos ever written. Grieg was just 24 years old when he wrote it. The month after the concerto's premiere, his toddler daughter died of viral meningitis, and his wife miscarried what would have been their second child. The Griegs would not have any more children.

Grieg's publisher asked him for another piano concerto for years, but the composer simply couldn't write one. All that he wrote was a fragment about 150 measures in length.

The premiere recording of Michael Torke's "Unconquered" celebrates the United States, the ideals of the Revolutionary War and the city of Saratoga, FL. The Saratoga Performing Arts Center commissioned the piece to celebrate its 50th anniversary. In response, Torke composed a piece inspired by the Battle of Saratoga.

Violinist Er-Gene Kahng is a professor at the University of Arkansas and concertmaster of both the Fort Smith Symphony and the Arkansas Philharmonic Orchestra. She has also taught and performed at the Bay View Music Festival in northern Michigan.

Florence Price (1887-1953) was the first African American woman to have a symphony performed by a major United States orchestra. She also composed two violin concertos, which were thought to be lost until they were discovered in an abandoned house in 2009.

Note: NPR's First Listen audio comes down after the album is released. However, you can still listen with the Spotify or Apple Music playlist at the bottom of the page.

A new album by the Nashville Symphony Orchestra and conductor Giancarlo Guerrero features premiere recordings of three concertos. One of these is the Horn Concerto by Brad Warnaar.

Warnaar joined Classical IPR's Amanda Sewell in the studio to discuss the inception of the concerto and to guide the listener through each of the three movements. Hear the entire conversation and excerpts from the concerto below.

A new album from Martha Argerich and Sergei Babayan features familiar music of Sergei Prokofiev. The twist is that the music is heard in Babayan's new arrangements  of Prokofiev's orchestral music for two pianos.

The centerpiece of the album is a set of movements from Prokofiev's ballet "Romeo and Juliet." Babayan dedicated these transcriptions to Argerich. He says, "This project happened becuase of my love for Prokofiev, my love for Martha and my love for the ballet 'Romeo and Juliet.'"

Tony Banks is best known to many people as the keyboardist and one of founding members of the English rock band Genesis. He is a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and he is widely considered one of the greatest rock keyboardist of all time. But Banks's musicianship isn't confined to rock: he has released several solo albums of both rock and classical music. 

Violist David Aaron Carpenter has just released a two-disc set of music for viola and orchestra. The pieces include two 20th-century viola concertos, an arrangement of Antonin Dvorak's cello concerto for viola and orchestra and three world premieres by the Kiev-born and New York-based composer Alexey Shor.

Brad Warnaar

Brad Warnaar is a hornist, composer, arranger and alumnus of Interlochen Arts Academy. He stopped by Interlochen Public Radio during the drive for listener support. Hear the complete conversation and excerpts of the music below.

Pianist Martha Argerich and conductor Seiji Ozawa both have long, distinguished careers and have each won multiple Grammy Awards. But Ozawa, 82, and Argerich, 76, have never recorded an album together until now.

They have just released a new recording of Beethoven's Piano Concerto no. 1 on the Decca label. The Mito Chamber Orchestra performs under Ozawa's baton and with Argerich at the piano. The album also includes a performance of Beethoven's Symphony no. 1. 

Pianist Maurizio Pollini has just released a new album featuring Book II of Claude Debussy's Preludes. The album is a long-awaited follow-up to Pollini's 1998 recording of Debussy's Book I of preludes.

Fans of Jane Austen know that the author of “Sense and Sensibility” and “Pride and Prejudice” never published under her own name, and began writing in the late 1700s to entertain her family.

Music was very much a part of their gatherings, too. Austen and her siblings collected their favorite musical pieces and compiled them in family music books, a common practice at the time.

Johannes Brahms published three violin sonatas during his lifetime. Violinist Tasmin Little and pianist Piers Lane present complete performances of all three sonatas on a new album from Chandos.

The Doric String Quartet is in the process of recording all of Franz Joseph Haydn's string quartets. They recently released their third volume of quartets. This new two-disc set features all six quartets from Haydn's opus 64.

Haydn composed all six of the op. 64 quartets in 1790, at the same time that he was leaving his long-time employment as a court composer and exploring options as a freelance composer in London. The most famous of the six quartets is no. 5, called "The Lark" for its soaring, birdlike themes. 

This might very well be the ultimate lullaby. Right at the start of the 2018 SXSW Music Festival, Max Richter's eight-hour composition Sleep was performed overnight to an audience tucked into 150 beds. They — the audience, not the tireless group of musicians who performed the piece — slept, dreamed and sometimes snored through this trance-inducing experience.

"Cinema per archi" (or "Cinema for Strings") is a new album from the string players of the Academy of St. Cecilia. The album features music by three Academy Award-winning Italian film composers: Ennio Morricone, Nicola Piovani and Nino Rota.

Cellist Sheku Kanneh-Mason isn't even 20 years old yet, and he's already been called "the hottest young classical musician on the planet" by Classic FM. Sheku (he goes by his first name) won the BBC Young Musician Award in 2016 and has just released his first album on Decca Classics, called "Inspiration."

Amazon recently released the fourth season of its original series "Mozart in the Jungle." The show, which has won multiple Golden Globe and Emmy awards, depicts the lives of classical musicians in the fictional New York Symphony. 

The American pianist Lara Downes is well known for her interesting portraits of composers. Her latest album “For Lenny” celebrates Leonard Bernstein in his centennial year. Like most of Downes’s other albums, “For Lenny” features a number of piano miniatures that revolve around a central theme. The theme of this album is, of course, Leonard Bernstein.

A new two-disc album from the American violinist Hilary Hahn features recordings from every album she has made for Deutsche Grammophon over the last 15 years. This new album, "Retrospectives," also includes previously unreleased live recordings of music by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Tina Davidson and Max Richter.

André Rieu and his Johann Strauss Orchestra have a new album called "Amore." The music includes Rieu's interpretations and arrangements of love songs and other uplifting favorites.

"Amore" features love songs like "Love Me Tender" and "What a Wonderful World," film music, waltzes by members of the Strauss family and pieces from musicals, like "The Impossible Dream" (from Man of La Mancha) and "Think of Me" (from Phantom of the Opera).

Click here for video of Rieu introducing the new album.

By her own admission, composer Florence Price had two strikes against her.

"To begin with I have two handicaps – those of sex and race. I am a woman; and I have some Negro blood in my veins," is how she began a 1943 letter to Serge Koussevitzky, the revered conductor of the Boston Symphony Orchestra. She added later, "I would like to be judged on merit alone."

The string quintet Sybarite5 is known for its untraditional choices of repertoire. They've performed their own arrangements of many songs by the band Radiohead, and they're champions of living American composers. Their music is frequently featured on Performance Today

Pages