New Classical CDs: Concertos for Piano, Horn, Violin & Clarinet

October has brought us a gleaming array of new classical CDs that include well-known pieces, and music by composers who should be better-known. This blog looks at several new recordings of concertos for piano, clarinet, horn, and violin. Of particular interest are two new recordings of music by Florence Price (1887-1953), including Randall Goosby’s interpretation of Price’s violin concertos with the Philadelphia Orchestra, and Jeneba Kanneh-Mason’s performance of Price’s Piano Concerto in One Movement, accompanied by the Chineke! Orchestra.

Although Florence Price’s music is, at last, becoming more widely performed, more about her life should also be known. Price was one of the USA’s foremost twentieth-century composers, producing music in a variety of genres including chamber and orchestral works, concerti, piano and organ pieces, and a significant body of art songs. Born in Little Rock, Arkansas, Price first learned music with her mother before moving to Boston where she studied piano, organ, and composition at the New England Conservatory, one of the only American conservatoires that would admit African-American students at that time. Price then held several prestigious teaching posts at colleges in Little Rock and Atlanta and married in 1912. 

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Inner Visions: Orchestra Wellington Presents ‘Pharaoh’

On Saturday 7 October, Orchestra Wellington presents ‘Pharaoh‘, the penultimate concert of its 2023 Inner Visions season. The programme brings together five works that each realise ‘inner visions’: from Gemma Peacocke’s response to the mysterious world of manta rays in the Hauraki Gulf in her new work Manta; there is a collision of archaism and ultra-modernism in Webern’s Passacaglia (1908). Briar Prastiti’s White, Red, Black envisions a folkloric world, through the symbolic qualities of these three colours in story-telling. John Psathas’s Planet Damnation, a concerto for timpani and orchestradraws us into a different time and landscape, taking its inspiration from the chapter in Robert Fisk’s The Great War for Civilisation that gives the author’s eyewitness account of catastrophic events in the Gulf War. To conclude the programme, Mozart’s music for the play Thamos, King of Egypt heightens the themes of treachery and death that pervade the drama by Tobias Philipp, Freiherr von Gebler (1726-1786). Joining Orchestra Wellington, conducted by Music Director Marc Taddei, will be the Arohanui Strings in Manta, percussionist Tomomi Ozaki, and the Orpheus Choir.

Today’s blog explores some of the books in the WCL collection about the two composers central to the First and Second Viennese Schools of composition, providing additional context to the music by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791), and Anton von Webern (1883-1945).

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