Classic listening at home: This Be Her Verse by Golda Schultz; Orion Weiss Bow 1 | Classical music


South African soprano Golda Schultz achieved immediate success after appearing on the Last Night of the Proms in the lockdown-truncated 2020 season. Despite the strangeness of the event, she handled it with joy and grace. His new album with pianist Jonathan Ware, This be his verse (Alpha Classics), confirms his versatility and musical intelligence. The recital consists of songs by five female composers, from romantics Emilie Mayer (1812-1883) and Clara Schumann (1819-1896), to mid-century adventurers Rebecca Clarke (1886-1979) and Nadia Boulanger (1887-1979) to the present day: the South African composer-pianist Kathleen Tagg (born in 1977). Schultz and Ware take up the challenge of all styles, from Mayer’s urgent Der Erlkönig to Clarke’s melancholy Down by the Salley Gardens. The title of the album comes from a new cycle of songs by Tagg, with lyrics by Lila Palmer. Commissioned by Schultz, they are slick, upbeat, sharp and true, a celebration of the single bed and clean sheets.

Chromatic and disturbing, the Piano Sonata n° 9 op. 68 (1913) by Alexander Scriabin quickly acquired the nickname “black mass”. (He didn’t object, having already named his seventh sonata “White Mass.”) American pianist Orion Weiss included this haunting work in Bow I (First Hand Records), the first of three albums relating to the prelude and aftermath of the First and Second World Wars. The opening work is ambitious from Granados Goyesca Op 11 (1911). Weiss sheds light on these six extremely difficult movements about love and death, built on snippets of ideas molded into complex, poetic material. On the other hand, Janáček In the mists (1912), a cycle of four short pieces, is stripped down and compact, introspective, steeped in folk melody, unpredictable. “More like entries in a wild diary than character pieces”, as Weiss writes. The Scriabin, with its fierce threats and specters, concludes this rich and stimulating album. Bow IInow eagerly awaited, promises Ravel, Shostakovich and Brahms.

Ideal lunchtime listening this coming week: four recitals from the Belfast Music Society’s International Chamber Music Festival 2022 recorded at Queen’s University Great Hall. This year’s performers include Trio Gaspard from Berlin and Ukrainian pianist Vadym Kholodenko. Tuesday to Friday, 1pm, BBC Radio 3 or on BBC Sounds.

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