Klaus Makela Mitsuko Uchida Belcea Quartet

What We’re Listening to…May, 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 info@guarnerihall.org.


CD cover Klaus Mäkelä, Oslo Philharmonic, Sibelius

Finland has produced more than its share of successful conductors, including Esa-Pekka Salonen, Osmo Vänskä, and Jukka-Pekka Saraste. Another Finnish conductor, Klaus Mäkelä, could become the breakout star of his generation. At only 26 years of age, Mäkelä is already in his second season as the chief conductor of the Oslo Philharmonic and is rapidly building a global reputation. This year several North American orchestras, including the Chicago Symphony, Cleveland Orchestra, San Francisco Symphony orchestras, have invited Mäkelä to guest conduct. The acclaim he’s received from musicians and audience has been universal and rare for any conductor, let alone one so young.

In his first commercial recording, Klaus Mäkelä has just released the complete Symphonic works of Jean Sibelius with the Oslo Philharmonic. It’s an ambitious project that would be challenging to any conductor, but looks to be an auspicious start to what we hope will be a long and essential discography from this emerging superstar.

Jean Sibelius – Complete Symphonies – Tapiola – Oslo Philharmonic – Klaus Mäkelä (Conductor)
4-Disc Set
Release Date: April 8, 2022
Label: Decca
Catalog No: 4852256


Mitsuko Uchida Diabelli Variations

In this age of omnivorous, polyglot musicians who are able to render almost any type of work credibly on short notice, it’s easy to forget that there once was a time when soloists endlessly burnished a limited repertoire and delivered performances for the ages. Mitsuka Uchida is a throwback to those times: a musician’s pianist who plays a relatively narrow repertoire and consistently brings unflinching integrity and profound poetry to her interpretations. 

Although standard concert fare for Uchida, Beethoven’s Variations on a Waltz by Diabelli had been conspicuously absent from her discography until this release last month. Now fans of Uchida and Beethoven can experience a new, thoughtful rendering of this landmark of the western musical canon that uniquely encapsulates the composer’s full expressive range. 

Beethoven – Diabelli Variations – Mitsuka Uchida (piano)
Release Date: April 8, 2022
Label: Decca
Catalog No: 4852731


Brahms Sextets-Belcea Quartet

Brahms more or less invented the String Sextet with these two works. They’re among the most beloved chamber music pieces in the repertoire, and the catalog is brimming with many fine recordings of both. Still, the Belcea Quartet and their two esteemed guests are able to bring something fresh to the table with the sheen of their collective instrumental skill. This new release belongs in the collection of any chamber music lover.

Brahms: String Sextets – Belcea Quartet, Tabea Zimmermann (viola), Jean-Guihen Queyras (cello)
Release Date: March 5, 2022
Label: Alpha Classics
Catalog No: ALPHA792

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