Press Room

This Year’s Album Releases from 21C Artists: For Your Consideration

21C artists have been as active in the studio as ever. In the spirit and season of gift guides, Grammys* and year-end round-ups, here’s a reminder of some of the recordings released over the past twelve months by 21C artists – as well as a few coming up later in 2022 – in repertoire ranging from Bach to Bernstein and from Nico Muhly to Angélica Negrón.

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Albums already released in 2022*

* Leif Ove Andsnes: Edvard Grieg (Jan 7, Decca)

In January, Decca released Leif Ove Andsnes and Lise Davidsen’s recording of Grieg songs to a chorus of critical approval. “Davidsen and Andsnes are totally captivating,” wrote the UK’s Mail on Sunday in a five-star review, which ended: “I can’t imagine a better start to my 2022 listening than this marvellous album. More, please.” After admiring the soprano’s “remarkable delicacy,” the Sunday Times of London declared Andsnes the “ideal pianist and champion for Norway’s national composer.” “Everything here is beautiful,” agreed the Financial Times. Similarly, citing both the “range and magnificence of Davidsen’s voice” and “Andsnes’s exceptional playing,” Gramophone proclaimed the album “an outstanding release” and named it “Recording of the Month” for January 2022.

* Inbal Segev: 20 for 2020, Vol III (Feb 25, Avie)

Combining “thrillingly projected, vibrato-rich playing” (Washington Post) with “complete dedication and high intelligence” (San Francisco Classical Voice), cellist Inbal Segev, a driving force in the creation of new cello repertoire, released the digital third volume of her “20 for 2020” commissioning project on Avie Records, a four-part project intended to capture something of the world’s collective experience in the tumultuous year. Volume III features world premiere works (in album order) by John Luther Adams, Adolphus Hailstork, Gloria Coates, Agata Zubel and Christopher Tyler Nickel, with guest artists Ian Rosenbaum on marimba, vocalist Charlotte Mundy, and Nickel playing oboe d’amore, cor anglais and bass oboe on his own composition, Fractures of Solitude, which is also available as an audio single.

The previously released Volume I (June 2021) and Volume II (Aug 2021) highlighted works by an equally exceptional array of composers: Timo Andres, Sophia Bass, Christopher Cerrone, Viet Cuong, Avner Dorman, Vijay Iyer, James Lee III, Angélica Negrón, Fernando Otero and Bruce Wolosoff. (Also see details of Vol. IV below, to be released Oct. 7)

* Daniel Hope: Music For Ukraine, EP (March 21, Deutsche Grammophon)

“A prominent ‘musical activist,’ supporting human rights in words and deeds” (San Francisco Classical Voice), Hope has long used his artistry to serve humanitarian causes, and has been recognized with both the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany and the 2015 European Cultural Prize for Music. In the face of the ongoing Russian invasion, the violinist turned his attention to relief efforts for Ukraine, teaming up with Ukrainian pianist Alexey Botvinov to release the Music For Ukraine EP for Deutsche Grammophon, featuring the music of Ukrainian composers Valentin Silvestrov, Myroslav Skoryk and Jan Freidlin. Everyone involved in the production donated their time, and all future royalties will be donated to Aktion Deutschland Hilft, a global relief emergency fund that is doing important work to support Ukraine. (Also see details of Silvestrov below, to be released on Sep 30)

* Leif Ove Andsnes: Mozart Momentum 1786: vol. 2 (April 8, Sony Classical)

Continuing his exploration of one of the most creative and seminal periods of Mozart’s career, Leif Ove Andsnes released a new double album, Mozart Momentum 1786, the second volume of the two-volume series. Once again featuring Andsnes leading the Mahler Chamber Orchestra from the keyboard – a team “you’d be hard-put to find … better matched” (The Guardian) – the double album was recorded live at the Vienna Musikverein and combines Mozart’s Piano Concertos Nos. 23 & 24 with three of the composer’s contemporaneous works: the Piano Quartet in E-flat, Piano Trio in B-flat, and the concert aria “Ch’io mi scordi di te?” for which Andsnes and the orchestra are joined by Brahms Prize-winning German soprano Christiane Karg.

* Rafael Payare and the San Diego Symphony: Shostakovich Symphony No. 11 “The Year 1905” (May 6, Platoon)

In February 2020, Music Director Rafael Payare led the San Diego Symphony in a live account of Shostakovich’s searing Eleventh Symphony, “The Year 1905,” prompting the San Diego Union-Tribune to marvel: “Nothing prepares you for the visceral power of this score in a concert hall. With Payare on the podium, the San Diego Symphony roared.” That performance – their last concert together before the pandemic lockdowns – was released on Platoon on May 6, marking the company’s first title to feature an American orchestra and the first commercial recording of the Venezuelan conductor’s career.

* Alisa Weilerstein: Beethoven Cello Sonatas (May 6, Pentatone)

Following up on her acclaimed Pentatone recording of Bach’s Six Unaccompanied Cello Suites in 2020, Alisa Weilerstein – also the subject of a May 2022 Gramophone cover story – joined her longtime recital partner, pianist Inon Barnatan, for a new album of Beethoven’s complete Cello Sonatas, works that have been a staple of the duo’s repertoire since they began performing together in 2008.

* Nicholas Phan: Stranger: Works for Tenor by Nico Muhly (June 1, Avie)

Celebrated for his expressive voice and passionate commitment to the song recital, Nicholas Phan released Stranger: Works for Tenor by Nico Muhly on Avie Records. Composed for Phan and Brooklyn Rider, the album’s title track is a song cycle that examines the experience of immigration to the U.S., juxtaposing accounts of immigration through Ellis Island with texts protesting the United States’ Chinese Exclusion policies of the late 19th century. The other two featured works, Impossible Things and Lorne Ys My Likinge, are both inspired by the music of Benjamin Britten, whose music Phan has also explored in a series of acclaimed albums for Avie. When Strangers received its world premiere at the Kimmel Center, the Philadelphia Inquirer observed, “the new Muhly song cycle showed the art-song medium at its agile best. … Muhly is usually impressive, but this is a piece you can take to your heart, especially in the well-studied, beautifully polished performance by Brooklyn Rider and Phan at his articulate best.”

* Manfred Honeck and the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra: Beethoven: Symphony No. 6; Stucky: Silent Spring (June 10, Reference Recordings)

Honeck’s successful leadership of the Pittsburgh Symphony has already been extensively documented on record. Issued by Reference Recordings, their discography has been recognized with the 2018 Grammy for “Best Orchestral Performance” and six Grammy nominations to date. June 10 marked the physical and digital release of their newest addition to the catalogue. Continuing their ongoing Beethoven series, this paired the composer’s “Pastoral” Symphony with the world premiere recording of the late Steven Stucky’s Silent Spring, a work originally commissioned and premiered by Honeck and the Pittsburgh Symphony to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the seminal environmental science text of the same name by Pittsburgh native Rachel Carson.

* Fabio Luisi and the Dallas Symphony Orchestra: Brahms: 1st & 2nd Symphonies (Sep 16, DSO Live)

On September 16, the Dallas Symphony Orchestra (DSO) and Grammy-winning conductor Fabio Luisi, now in his third season as music director, released Brahms Symphonies No. 1 & 2 on DSO Live, the DSO’s in-house label. Recorded live at Dallas’s Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center in September 2021 and February 2022, this initial recording of a complete cycle of Brahms’ symphonies marks the first album release of Luisi’s tenure with the DSO. Following a pared-down inaugural season during the pandemic, the first set of performances opened Luisi’s second season as Music Director. Texas Classical Review declared that “the program offered a strong return to form and the kind of familiar brilliance not heard in the hall since March of last year.” The February recording took place during a special series of concerts that saw the orchestra able to welcome larger audiences to the space. The new album is available as both a digital download and a 2-CD set.

* Pierre-Laurent Aimard: Visions (Sep 23, Pentatone)

Grammy-winning French pianist Pierre-Laurent Aimard released Visions on the Pentatone label with pianist Tamara Stefanovich. Marking Aimard’s third, and Stefanovich’s second, release on Pentatone, Visions is a collection of works whose composers share a fascination with the sound of bells. The centerpiece of the album is Messiaen’s rapturous two-piano Visions de l’Amen, which is followed by Enescu’s “Carillon nocturne” from Suite No. 3, Op. 18, “Pièces Impromptus”; Knussen’s Prayer Bell Sketch (played by Stefanovich); and “Clock IV” from Birtwistle’s Harrison’s Clocks.

* Daniel Hope: Silvestrov (Sep 30, Deutsche Grammophon)

Hope has been collaborating for eight years with Ukrainian pianist Alexey Botvinov, who serves as Artistic Director of the Odessa Classics Festival, and the violinist released an album of the music of Alfred Schnittke with the pianist last fall. For the 2020 festival in Odessa, they had the idea of commissioning a work from Ukrainian composer Valentin Silvestrov, and in his capacity as President of Beethoven-Haus Bonn, Hope suggested the piece be related to Beethoven’s “Pastoral” Symphony in honor of that composer’s 250th anniversary year. The result was Silvestrov’s Pastorales 2020, but because of the pandemic the whole piece has never been performed live. Hope and Botvinov then decided to record an entire album of Silvestrov’s music, and planned a trip to Kyiv in March 2022 for that purpose. The Russian attack intervened, forcing Botvinov to leave the country with his family, and they quickly pivoted to presenting benefit concerts in Germany and recording the Music for Ukraine EP (see March 21 above).

Silvestrov himself was able to escape the country after Kyiv was bombed, taking refuge in Berlin and finally allowing Hope and Botvinov’s album of his music to come to fruition. As well as the world premiere of Pastorales 2020, the album includes the “Chopin-Augenblicke” from his Zwei Stücke, the three miniatures of 25.X.1893…zum Andenken an P.I. Tschaikowskij, and the Hommage à J.S.B.

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Grammy-eligible albums released in 2021

* Daniil Trifonov: Bach: The Art of Life (Oct 8, Deutsche Grammophon)

The Grammy-winning Russian pianist’s double album centers on The Art of Fugue, but also opens a window on the Bach family’s life and work. It includes selections from the Notebook for Anna Magdalena Bach, music by four of Johann Sebastian’s sons, Trifonov’s own version of The Art of Fugue’s final contrapunctus, and much more. Of a 2020 concert of The Art of Fugue, the Chicago Classical Review wrote: “Trifonov proved as compelling in [the] music of Bach as in the Romantic repertoire in which he is heard most frequently.” (See deluxe version of Bach: The Art of Life below)

* Marin Alsop: Candide (Oct 15, LSO Live)

One of the most admired interpreters of the music of her mentor, Leonard Bernstein, trailblazing conductor Marin Alsop captures the essence of Bernstein’s satirical operetta in a live recording made during celebratory concerts marking Bernstein’s centenary. Alsop conducts the London Symphony Orchestra, with a starry cast that includes Leonardo Capalbo, Jane Archibald, Anne Sofie von Otter and Sir Thomas Allen.

* The Atlanta Opera: Glory Denied (Nov 11, The Atlanta Opera)

Reflecting its deep commitment and connection to the veteran community, The Atlanta Opera offered a salute to Veterans Day 2021 by presenting the first fully-orchestrated recorded version of the chamber opera Glory Denied, Tom Cipullo’s “mesmerizing” and “masterfully taut” (Opera Today) adaptation of the story of the longest-held American prisoner of war. Nicole Paiement conducts the Atlanta Opera Orchestra and a stellar cast that includes baritone Michael Mayes as Colonel Jim Thompson and sopranos Kelly Kaduce and Maria Valdes as his wife at different ages.

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Albums coming soon

Inbal Segev: 20 for 2020: vol. 4; and complete set (Oct 7; Nov 11, Avie; see also Feb. 25 above)

Inbal Segev releases the fourth and final volume in her “20 for 2020” long-term commissioning project on Avie Records. The digital release, set for October 7, will be followed November 11 by the physical release of a 2CD boxed set of all four volumes. Composers featured in Volume IV are Camille El Bacha, Stewart Goodyear, Molly Joyce, and Immanuel Wilkins. The physical album features a bonus track by Segev herself. The cellist launched this major new project in fall of 2020, galvanized by the unprecedented worldwide crises that characterized that year, to capture something of that collective experience and to encourage creative recovery from it.

Marin Alsop: Schumann 1st & 2nd Symphonies (Oct 28, Naxos)

October brings the physical and digital release of Schumann’s First and Second Symphonies, as reorchestrated by Mahler, which Marin Alsop and the Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra recorded as the first installment of their complete Schumann symphonic cycle for Naxos. The second volume will be released in early 2023.

Leif Ove Andsnes: Dvořák: Poetic Tone Pictures (Oct 28, Sony Classical)

“I have to say I think this is the great forgotten cycle of the 19th-century piano music. Maybe those are big words, but I do feel that,” says Norwegian pianist Leif Ove Andsnes about his upcoming release on Sony Classical. On this album, he presents the most substantial piano collection of the great Romantic composer Antonín Dvořák: the unjustly neglected Poetic Tone Pictures.

Daniil Trifonov: deluxe edition of Bach: The Art of Life: includes original double album released last year, + Blu-ray video of recent Berlin recital of same rep, + Blu-ray audio of The Art of Fugue (Nov 4, Deutsche Grammophon)

Last fall saw the release of Trifonov’s Bach: The Art of Life by Deutsche Grammophon (see Oct 8, 2021 above). Featuring Bach’s masterpiece, The Art of Fugue, as completed by Trifonov himself, alongside selections from the Notebook for Anna Magdalena Bach, works by four of the composer’s sons, and two Bach family favorites, the best-selling double album met with widespread critical acclaim. As BBC Music magazine wrote, “This recording is a revelation. … Trifonov’s approach seems effortless, at once incisive and tender, purveying pure pleasure from start to finish.” Now November 4 brings the release of a new deluxe edition of Bach: The Art of Life, complete with Blu-ray video of the pianist’s live-streamed recital of the same repertoire in Berlin last fall.

Julia Bullock: Walking in the Dark (Dec 9, Nonesuch)

One of Musical America’s 2021 “Artists of the Year,” American classical singer Julia Bullock makes her solo recording debut in December on Nonesuch. Of the album’s repertoire, Bullock says, “This music and poetry have contributed to my development as a classical singer. Over the years, I’ve returned to this material with reconsideration, revision, and review, and that makes me undoubtedly call these songs ‘classics’ – classics, which are inclusive of traditions across cultures, and celebrate a diversity of thought, expression and experience.” Bullock is joined on the album by London’s Philharmonia Orchestra and conductor Christian Reif for Samuel Barber’s Knoxville: Summer of 1915 and an aria from John Adams’s El Niño. With Reif on piano, Bullock also performs a traditional spiritual and songs by Oscar Brown, Jr., Billy Taylor, Sandy Denny, and Connie Converse.

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© 21C Media Group, October 2022


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