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Sunday Classical: New Release Highlights for June 2024

Courtesy of the artist

On the first Sunday of every month, WRTI broadcasts a special edition of Sunday Classical, focused on classical new releases. The program is hosted by Mark Pinto, who highlights some of the June selections here.


The Italian Album
Verita Baroque Ensemble

Verità Baroque Ensemble takes historically informed performance practice a step further in this innovative album of music from the Italian baroque. Not only do they perform on period instruments, but they recorded in the halls for which the music was originally composed: baroque castles in Germany. Utilizing state-of-the-art recording and mixing techniques, the result is a resonant, immersive sound experience.

Four Hands
Alexandre Tharaud (piano)

French pianist Alexandre Tharaud shares the bench with a number of distinguished and close friends in an album exploring the rich vein of piano duet repertoire. In 22 selections ranging from Bach to Philip Glass, Tharaud collaborates with the likes of Beatrice Rana, Vikingur Ólafsson, David Fray, Bertrand Chamayou and Michel Dalberto. Countertenor Philippe Jaroussky and cellist Gautier Capuçon also make appearances on an album Tharaud describes as “put together for the sheer pleasure of it.”

Schmitt: La Tragédie de Salomé & Chant élégiaque
Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra, Alain Altinoglu (conductor)

The Frankfurt Radio Symphony with Music Director Alain Altinoglu brings us the music of Florent Schmitt (1870-1958) in this new release of one of his best-known works, considered a landmark of early 20th century French music. Composed in 1907, the ballet, La tragédie de Salomé, was greatly admired by Igor Stravinsky, whose Rite of Spring is anticipated in Schmitt’s syncopations, rhythms, percussive chords and tonality. It’s a voluptuous score bursting with color, energy and oriental influences.

Russian Choral Concertos: An Introduction
Yekaterinburg Philharmonic Choir, Andrei Petrenko (conductor)

The Fuga Libera label brings us this survey of three centuries of the a cappella choral concerto. Originally setting sacred texts but evolving into something more secular, the genre first appeared in Russian music in the early 18th century. It reached its Golden Age at the end of that century in the works of Dmitry Bortnyansky and Stepan Degtyarev, whose compositions are heard here alongside those of later practitioners including Sergei Rachmaninoff.

Bruckner: Mass in E minor & Motets & 'BRUCKNER'S WORLD' - An introduction to the works
Bavarian Radio Chorus, Munich Radio Orchestra, Peter Dijkstra (conductor)

In addition to his symphonies which have been called “cathedrals in sound,” Anton Bruckner, organist and devout Roman Catholic, composed music to be performed in actual cathedrals. Here the Bavarian Radio Choir performs several of Bruckner’s deeply moving a cappella motets alongside his Mass No. 2, an acclaimed masterpiece for eight-part mixed choir and wind ensemble originally written for open-air performance.

Home
Miró Quartet

Celebrated ensemble the Miró Quartet acknowledge their artistic home base in this album of American music by four Pulitzer Prize-winning composers. A string quartet movement by George Walker, known more famously as his Lyric for Strings, and the complete Op. 11 quartet of Samuel Barber, the source of the iconic Adagio for Strings, join newly commissioned works by Kevin Puts and Caroline Shaw.

The Vienna Recital
Yuja Wang (piano)

In April of 2022, electrifying pianist Yuja Wang brought down the Haus in an eclectic and highly acclaimed Vienna recital. Synthesizing masterpieces by Albeniz, Beethoven and Scriabin, little-known works by Ligeti and Kapustin, and encores ranging from Gluck to Philip Glass, she displays her trademark fiery virtuosity and interpretive refinement here. A must for fans who witnessed her triumph at the Kimmel Center a month back.

Elgar: Symphonies No. 1 & No. 2
Hallé Orchestra, Mark Elder (conductor)

This release celebrates the culmination of Sir Mark Elder’s nearly quarter-century tenure as Music Director of the Hallé. In 1908, the orchestra gave the premiere of Elgar’s First Symphony, an astonishing masterwork that was greeted with worldwide praise. The symphony contrasts well with Elgar’s deeply personal Second Symphony, which was slower to catch on but is now considered one of Elgar’s finest works.

Dietrich Buxtehude: Alchemy of Another
Filament

Bridge Records presents the debut release of Philadelphia-based period-instrument ensemble Filament: Evan Few, violin; Elena Kauffman, viola da gamba; and John Walthausen, harpsichord. They perform the Op. 1 trio sonatas of Danish composer and organist Dietrich Buxtehude, one of the most important and influential composers of the early Baroque era. Composed at the dawn of the 18th century, the sonatas sit at a crossroads of style and counterpoint and represent the crowning achievement of the repertoire for this instrumental combination.

Mozart, W A - Symphonies Nos. 34, 35 & 36
Philharmonia Orchestra, Michael Collins (conductor)

Mozart was in his mid-twenties, at a crossroads in his life, when he composed the three symphonies on this album, as he sought to establish his reputation in Vienna following his departure from Salzburg. The Philharmonia’s performances of these masterful, colorful, and attractive works -- which include the popular “Haffner” and “Linz” symphonies – are led by Michael Collins, a Mozart specialist most admired for his work as a clarinetist.

Debussy and Ravel For Two
Alessio Bax (piano), Lucille Chung (piano)

Partners in life and in instrument, the husband and wife team of Bax and Chung unite here in performances of two-piano and four-hand works by Debussy and Ravel. The recording features original compositions by the two French composers, including Debussy’s Petite Suite and Ravel’s Mother Goose, plus arrangements of Debussy by Henri Dutilleux, Léon Roques, and Ravel’s own four-hand arrangement of Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun.

A Philadelphia native, Mark grew up in Roxborough and at WRTI has followed in the footsteps of his father, William, who once hosted a music program on the station back in the '50s.