On the Record rounds up details about new and pending recordings of interest to the new-music community: contemporary classical music and jazz, electronic and electroacoustic music, and idioms for which no clever genre name has been coined, on CD, vinyl LP, cassette, digital-only formats… you name it.
This list of upcoming release dates is culled from press releases, Amazon and other online record stores, social-media posts, and similar resources. Dates cited correspond to U.S. release of physical recordings where applicable, and are subject to change. These listings are not comprehensive—nor could they be! To submit a forthcoming recording for consideration, email information to email@example.com.
Album of the week
Symphony No. 1 in E minor; Symphony No. 4 in D minor
Fort Smith Symphony/John Jeter
The Naxos label originally put itself on the map for solid recordings featuring respectable renditions of standard repertoire and offbeat fare, offered at rock-bottom prices. But in 2000 the label discovered a useful and little-served niche that quickly provided new respectability: the American Classics line, which made its initial splash with discs covering a range from John Philip Sousa to John Cage. Music by mid-20th-century symphonists like Samuel Barber and Walter Piston was especially well served by the new series.
Now, almost 20 years later comes what might be the most noteworthy offering the American Classics series has produced to date: the world premiere recording of the Symphony No. 4 in D minor by Florence Price, a pioneering composer who recently has been the subject of numerous high-profile articles. Scholars warn us not to call this a rediscovery, since Price’s achievement and reputation never disappeared altogether. Still, it was big news when a trove of nearly lost scores and papers that had belonged to the first woman of color to have a piece played by a major orchestral institution – the Chicago Symphony Orchestra debuted Price’s Symphony No. 1 in E minor in 1933 – turned up in 2009 in an abandoned Illinois house where Price once had spent her summers.
This new CD, appropriately recorded by the oldest orchestral ensemble in Arkansas, the state where Price was born, is sure to spark even more widespread interest in this resurgent American composer. The performances are solid and stylish, as is the recording by producer Tim Handley. The concise yet detailed and informative liner notes are by Douglas Shadle, the Vanderbilt University musicologist who singlehandedly has done more than anyone to stamp out fake news about Price and her milieu on social media. No question, Price’s music is of its time: redolent of Brahms and Dvořák, William Grant Still and Samuel Coleridge-Taylor, even Duke Ellington. But there’s a freshness and commitment in these performances that wins you over right away.
If you’ve already got Leslie Dunner’s groundbreaking Albany recording of Price’s First Symphony, you won’t want to toss it out; Dunner gives the music’s playful rhythms more swing and lilt—and besides, you wouldn’t want to lose the pairing on that disc: composer Trevor Weston’s remarkable reconstruction of Price’s Piano Concerto in One Movement. Still, the Fort Smith ensemble plays more smoothly and securely, and you’ll certainly want to hear the comparatively little known Fourth Symphony. Happily, at the Naxos list price, it’s not hard to say yes.
New This Week
Anna Korsun – Anna Korsun – performers include Dominik Susteck, Flavio Virzì, Johanna Zimmer, Andreas Fischer, and Looptail (Wergo)
Alvin Lucier – Ricochet Lady – Trevor Saint (Black Truffle) Alberto Posadas – Erinnerungsspuren – Florian Hoelscher (Wergo)
Annette Bik – Double Bach … the experience of infinity for mortals – compositions by Johann Sebastian Bach, Eva Reiter, Simone Movio, Andreas Lindenbaum, and Bernhard Gander (Col Legno) Robin Holloway – The Lovers’ Well – Clare Lloyd-Griffiths, Kate Symonds-Joy, James Robinson, Simon Wallfisch, Edward Rushton, William Vann (Delphian)
Human Feel – Gold (Intakt) Christoph Irniger Pilgrim – Crosswinds (Intakt) Andrew McIntosh – We See the Flying Bird/Five Songs – Estelí Gomez, Yarn/Wire (Populist) New Thread Quartet – Plastic Facts – compositions by Michael Djupstrom, Marcelo Lazcano, Anthony Gatto, and Richard Carrick (New Focus) Oliver Schneller – Phantom Islands – performers include ensemble recherche, Camerata Aberta, Banda Modern, Kammerensemble Neue Musik Berlin, and Ensemble Modern (Telos Music) Morton Subotnick – Vol. 4: Complete Piano Music – Soojin Anjou (Mode)
George Benjamin – Lessons in Love and Violence – Stéphane Degout, Barbara Hannigan, Gyula Orendt, Peter Hoare, Samuel Boden, Orchestra of the Royal Opera House/George Benjamin (Opus Arte) Bloor – Drolleries (Astral Spirits)
Anthony Braxton – GTM (Syntax) 2017 – Tri-Centric Vocal Ensemble (New Braxton House; 12CD box set due March 15.) Leonie Klein – Gathering Thunders – compositions by Karlheinz Stockhausen, Iannis Xenakis, Helmut Lachenmann, Nicolaus A. Huber, Peter Eötvös, and Johannes Julius Fischer (Wergo) Bruce Levingston – Citizen – compositions by Nolan Gasser, William Grant Still, Frédéric Chopin, David T. Little, Augusta Gross, and C. Price Walden (Sono Luminus; more details here.) Joe Lovano – Trio Tapestry (ECM) Karola Obermüller – Karola Obermüller – performers include Camilla Hoitenga, Emanuele Arciuli, International Contemporary Ensemble, Ensemble Modern, and Ensemble Musikfabrik (Wergo)
Gil Sansón/Lance Austin Olson – Works on Paper (Elsewhere)
This week in On the Record, The Necks defy expectation and categorization on 'Three,' their 21st album, new on Northern Spy. Plus dozens of listings for forthcoming releases.
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This week in On the Record: Bandcamp has responded to the current COVID-19 pandemic by waiving its fees for 24 hours, directing more money to artists and labels—here are some new and recent releases to buy today.