For the latest instalment in their Grammy Award-winning cycle of Shostakovich’s symphonies for Deutsche Grammophon, the Boston Symphony Orchestra and its music director Andris Nelsons turn to a work that highlights the composer’s life-threatening relationship with Stalin and the Soviet régime. In 1936, when Shostakovich was writing his Fourth Symphony, an editorial appeared in Pravda condemning his opera Lady Macbeth as “muddle instead of music” and accusing the composer of endangering Soviet culture. The symphony’s planned premiere was abandoned, and it was only in 1961, years after Stalin’s death, that the work was first performed.
Andris Nelsons latest Shostakovich album is available HERE
Child prodigies are nothing new these days. They pop up around every street corner, and perhaps the term prodigy is in itself over-used. The prodigy is sometimes no more than a performing monkey who can play his or her instrument standing on their head. Swedish violinist Daniel Lozakovich is different. He is seventeen rather than seven, he is a rapidly maturing artist, and he has a distinctly luminous and airy sound. For his debut album on Deutsche Grammophon, Daniel Lozakovich chose the Bach A minor and E major violin concertos, as well as the second partita for solo violin with its epic Chaconne.
Daniel Lozakovich’s new album is available HERE
When visiting his parents in Wales, Aled Jones’s father mentioned a recording that Aled had commenced on as boy soprano, when after lunch as it turns out, his voice broke, and that was the end of that for some decades. That is, until Aled found enough material to make a series of albums called “One Voice”, where he duets with himself. The final chapter in the One Voice trilogy is called “Believe”. It includes a song arranged by Australia’s own Richard Mills, as well as one very familiar to many through the breezy opening credits of “The Vicar of Dibley”… and this time, the duettist isn’t boy Aled, but Aled’s own son, Lucas.
Aled’s latest ‘One Voice’ album is available HERE.
It’s amazing to think that Stuart Skelton has long been acclaimed as one of the greatest heldentenors of his generation, receiving extraordinary reviews for his performances in some of opera’s most demanding roles. And yet, he’s never had a solo record. Until now, that is. His incredible voice and outstanding musicianship have seen him perform all over the world, and his ABC Classics debut disc entitled Shining Knight includes a number of Wagner roles for which he is celebrated, including Siegfried, Lohengrin and Rienzi.
Stuart’s debut album on ABC Classics is available HERE.
One of my happiest discoveries in recent months has been the songs of Australian composer, pianist and organist Calvin Bowman. A delightful and shy man, he can boast – but never would – of such marathons of performing the complete organ works of Bach in a single 17-hour session. He is also a sensitive and acute pianist, and a wonderful composer. More than 50 of his songs have just been released on Decca. The settings range from Michael Leunig, who has also provided the beautiful cover image for the recording back through to Tennyson, Robert Louis Stevenson and Walter de la Mare.
Calvin Bowman’s debut Decca album is available HERE.