This is Volume 4 in Barry Douglas’s monumental project to record the complete works for solo piano by Johannes Brahms. Each volume has been released to critical acclaim, the first one, in 2012, being seen by BBC Music as ‘a triumph of Brahmsian thought, with playing that gets right to the heart of the composer’.
Having produced two highly regarded discs of solo works by Brahms, Barry Douglas, an exclusive Chandos artist, now embarks on the complete solo piano works by Franz Schubert. This first volume features two large-scale works, the ‘Wanderer’ Fantasy and the Sonata in B flat major, alongside two Schubert songs transcribed by Liszt.
This is Volume 2 in our series devoted to the works for solo piano by Johannes Brahms, with the acclaimed pianist Barry Douglas. Since winning the Gold Medal at the 1986 Tchaikovsky International Piano Competition in Moscow, Douglas has established a major international career, and his reputation as a pianist and conductor continues to grow.
Brahms’s two sonatas for clarinet and piano, Op 120, composed in 1894, were followed only by the four Serious Songs and a set of organ chorale preludes (some of which may have been written at earlier times). His farewell to chamber music was also his farewell gift to the clarinet. The two works recorded here were preceded by the Clarinet Trio in A minor (Op 114) and the great Clarinet Quintet in B minor (Op 115), and all four masterpieces were inspired by the playing of Richard Mühlfeld, principal clarinettist of the Meiningen Orchestra.
The old model for creating a hit classical recording – big-name soloist plus big-name conductor in major repertory work – is not so common anymore, but this live Brahms recording from the Staatskapelle Berlin under Venezuela's Gustavo Dudamel, with Argentine-Israeli-Palestinian-Spanish pianist Daniel Barenboim as soloist, shows that there's life in the concept yet. One could point to the virtues of pianist and conductor separately: it's a rare septuagenarian who can combine power and clear articulation of detail the way Barenboim does, and Dudamel builds a vast sweep in, especially, the Piano Concerto No. 1 in D minor, Op. 15. But it's the way that the two work together that really makes news. Chalk it up to shared South American heritage or to whatever the listener wants, but the way the orchestra and piano define separate spheres and work them together is extraordinary. Again, it is in the Piano Concerto No. 1 and its Beethovenian drama that their mutual understanding is most evident, but there is a sense of great variety powerfully unified throughout.
IN THE NOW is the second solo album by British singer-songwriter Barry Gibb, released on 7 October 2016 by Columbia Records. Although his second solo album (since 1984's Now Voyager), it is the first of all new material since the Bee Gees' final studio album This Is Where I Came In (2001). Gibb said of the album: "This is a dream come true for me. It's a new chapter in my life. I always hoped one day that The Bee Gees would be with Columbia or indeed Sony so, it's a great joy for me to start again this way with such great people."