What We’re Listening to…June, 2022

It’s always interesting to know what recordings spark the interest of fellow music lovers. The list below reflects new and old recordings that look promising to us. We will periodically add to the list as new releases catch our attention. We welcome your comments and suggestions to

Edwin Fischer-Brahms, Schubert & Schumann: The Complete Studio Recordings, 1934-1950

Pianist Edwin Fischer (1886-1960) was a towering musical presence in Europe in the first half of the 20th century. His Mozart and Schubert interpretations are regarded as models of elegance and depth. Fischer’s pre-war Schubert recordings are well known, but this new release stands out for its superior audio. The historic piano recording specialist label APR re-mastered their original 1997 transfers of the Schubert Impromptus, rendering the performances with the best possible sound quality.
But the Brahms and Schumann recordings on this release may be new, even to die-hard Fischer fans. In particular, his performance of the 1st Brahms Piano Quartet recorded in Germany just after the start of the war with principals from the Edwin Fischer Chamber Orchestra has never been widely available. The Brahms recordings from 1947 and the F minor Sonata from 1949 are also rarities. The recording of the Schumann Fantasy on this release is Fischer’s only recorded performance of Schumann, all the more interesting considering that Fischer described the piece as “a symbol of the soul of the piano.” We can all revel in the new availability of these performances by a true master of a bygone era.

Edwin Fischer-Brahms, Schubert & Schumann: The Complete Studio Recordings, 1934-1950
Release Date: June 3, 2022
Label: APR Recordings
Catalog No:7314

Alisa Weilerstein (cello), Inon Barnatan (piano) Beethoven: Cello Sonatas

For any bona fide concert cellist, the Beethoven Sonatas are an essential mountain to climb. The challenge is daunting, given the significant number of historic recordings in the catalog. The venerable Alisa Weilerstein has joined with her long-time recital partner, pianist Inon Barnatan, to make her mark with this complete set of Beethoven Cello Sonatas on the Pentatone label.
At the age of 40, Weilerstein is in her prime. For this recording, she has brought 20 years of experience from the world’s stages to the studio to produce an archival performance for posterity. In an age of jumpstarted careers and early ambitions, Weilerstein’s patience in waiting this long to record this music is admirable.
Given the talent and integrity that Weilerstein and Barnatan possess, one would expect these recordings to be outstanding. But what makes this release particularly enticing is its potential for landmark performances. 

Alisa Weilerstein (cello), Inon Barnatan (piano) Beethoven: Cello Sonatas
Release Date: June 3, 2022
Label: Pentatone
Catalog No: PTC5186884

Itamar Zorman – Violin Odyssey: with Ieva Jokubaviciute and Kwan Yi Piano

Violinist Itamar Zorman first emerged onto the world stage with a gold medal at the 2011 Tchaikovsky competition. His reputation as a brilliant and thoughtful virtuoso has been growing ever since. Zorman was awarded an Avery Fisher Career Grant in 2013, a Berletti Buitoni Award in 2014, and has enjoyed a regular string of high-prestige solo engagements and on performance series worldwide.
Zorman’s first recording, Portrait, was an album of standard repertoire released in 2014. His second release, Evocation in 2019, established his credentials as a performer dedicated to expanding the canon by featuring the works of the underappreciated Israeli composer Paul Ben Haim (1897-1984). Zorman’s just-released third album, Violin Odyssey, is a boldly eclectic collection of works of nearly unimaginable range. Ieva Jokubaviciute and Kwan Yi, each a star in their own right, alternately join Zorman for the recorded performances.
Violin Odyssey is a dizzying and exotic journey around the world, as Zorman performs modern works from Eastern Europe, Israel, New Zealand, China, and the Americas. This release reflects an approach to programming that speaks to the universal nature of music and expands the concert repertoire for violin. Zorman and his capable colleagues have the credentials to shine inspirational light on all of it.

ITAMAR ZORMAN – Violin Odyssey: with Ieva Jokubaviciute and Kwan Yi Piano
Release Date:06/03/2022
Label: First Hand
Catalog No:119

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