American violinist Leila Josefowicz has performed John Adams’ 1993 Violin Concerto almost 100 times. It’s a work that makes huge technical and expressive demands on the soloist, and Josefowicz squares up admirably to the challenges. The restless, 15-minute opening movement is a vehicle for her dazzling, rhapsodic solo playing, as she flits here and there, anchored by the steady rhythms of the orchestra. Ancient meets modern when Adams then toys with the Chaconne form—Josefowicz soaring sweetly, mournfully above a recurring bass—before the final visceral, fiery moto perpetuo movement that grows ever more frenzied as it races to its climactic bars.
Although it was Donizetti’s first theatrical success, the original 1822 version of this violent love story was never given a complete performance because the tenor cast in the role of the hero died shortly before the first night. Even so, Donizetti quickly adapted this role for a mezzo-soprano, achieving his first theatrical success. Opera Rara presents the world premiere of the original tenor version. In addition the recording includes six more pieces written for the 1824 revival.
This release is a beautiful recording of both Vivaldi and Piazzolla’s Four Seasons, performed by the Orchestra of Saint John’s at SJE Arts in Oxford on November 21st 2015. The album features violinist Jan Schmolck and conductor John Lubbock. Musicians, critics, and concert promoters say that the Orchestra of St. John’s is one of classical music’s best kept secrets.
'Annunciations' celebrates Sir James MacMillan's ongoing contributions to sacred music, performed by St Salvator's Chapel Choir. Alongside five of his own pieces, the album includes works by two decisive influences on MacMillan, Benjamin Britten and Kenneth Leighton; two significant contemporaries, John Tavener and Judith Bingham; and six next generation composers mentored by Sir James on the TheoArtistry Composers' Scheme, a collaboration between ITIA (the Institute for Theology, Imagination and the Arts), the Music Centre, and St Salvator's Chapel Choir, in the University of St Andrews.