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Classicalite Recording News: Avie Records

By James Inverne on Jul 10, 2013 07:11 PM EDT

Even with a business model that hinges on artists themselves paying for their recordings--and retaining the rights--the Avie label is one of the most respected in the recording industry, run by a team of impeccable taste and an ear for what makes a must-hear set. So, it’s always worth keeping an eye on their one sheets, as they’ve just announced releases through to April 2014.

Here are the details…

SEPTEMBER: Inon Barnatan, the latest impressive Israeli pianist following hard on the footsteps of compatriots such as Sony’s David Greilsammer (keeping reading for a newer rival), returns to Avie with two late sonatas by Schubert, a composer close to his heart. Look out for his concert schedule, which is apparently due to include lots of Schubert, also. Barnatan’s debut CD for the label, called Darknesse Visible, was named as one of the New York Times’ “Best Classical Recordings of 2012." Will this new one be one of their best for 2013?

OCTOBER: The Brook Street Band may sound more like a klezmer troupe than a period instrument ensemble, but in fact Brook Street is not an alley on New York’s Lower East Side with lots of bagel shops--it’s the London street where Handel lived. The all-female ensemble won an "Editor’s Choice" accolade from Gramophone for their last Avie disc, a world première chamber version of Handel’s "Oxford" Water Music. Here they are, again, with Handel’s Trio Sonatas, Op. 2.

That same month, Herwig Zack takes up his violin again for his third Avie outing, called Made in Germany. It’s a survey of German repertoire from Baroque to contemporary, by way of Bach, Hindemith (Complete Works for Solo Violin), Max Reger and Klaus-Hinrich Stahmer.

NOVEMBER: That other Israeli pianist is Benjamin Hochman, making his Avie debut with a pair of Schubert sonatas (doesn’t this sound a bit like Barnatan’s new disc?) paired with music by György Kurtág and Jörg Widmann.

The flautist Marina Piccinini follows her Bach Flute Sonatas disc for flute and guitar duo (isn’t it amazing, the weird and wonderful configurations of Bach’s music turning up these days--the fact that it so often works is a mark, we suppose, of the composer’s structural genius). This time she has made solo flute arrangements of Paganini’s Caprices.

A busy month for Avie concludes with the harpist Elizabeth Hainen. Hainen is the principal harpist for the Philadelphia Orchestra. Perhaps spurred to financial creativity by that famous ensemble’s fiscal problems in recent years (which, we hear, are thankfully somewhat alleviated now), she has turned to Kickstarter to fund her new CD. And Les Amis was duly, well, kick-started. It examines the friendships between the composers Claude Debussy and André Caplet--works include the Danse sacrée, Danse profane and Mask of the Red Death. Hainen is joined by Michael Stern and the IRIS Orchestra, fellow flautist Jeffrey Khaner and the violist (and president of the Curtis Institute) Roberto Diaz.

FEBRUARY: Violinist Augustin Hadelich has recorded concertos for his fourth Avie turn, playing the Sibelius Violin Concerto alongside Thomas Adès’ brilliant Concentric Paths. (Hilary Hahn, of course, had great success a year or two ago similarly coupling the Sibelius with a contemporary work, in that case the Jennifer Higdon concerto). Hannu Lintu conducts the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra.

And Lada Valešová, another fine Avie pianist, this one from the Czech Republic, surveys classical works derived from Eastern European folk music. Dvořák, Martinů, the Ukrainian Mykola Lysenko, Balakirev, Tchaikovsky and Liszt are all in the line-up.

MARCH: Joyce Yang was the youngest-ever medalist of the Van Cliburn Competition, and here’s her second Avie piano disc. Wild Dreams has as its subject, well, dreams. Included are Schumann’s Fantasiestücke, Bartók’s Out of Doors, selections from Hindemith’s In einer Nacht, Earl Wild’s arrangements of Rachmaninoff’s Dreams, The Little Island and Vocalise, as well as Rach’s Second Piano Sonata.

Also returning to the Avie ranks are the Valentin Berlinsky Quartet, who hail from Zurich and are named after the founding cellist of the Borodin Quartet. In their new album, they’ll pair Beethoven’s Razumovsky Quartet with the Ninth and Tenth Quartet of Shostakovich.

APRIL: Hats off to conductor Kenneth Woods who now completes the first recorded cycle of symphonies by the much neglected (though slowly, perhaps, now returning to fashion) composer Hans Gál. Woods, the Orchestra of the Swan and the label, itself, have really done their reputation no end of good with this series, with Gal played alongside Schumann symphonies. This last entry features--slightly upside-downly, a new phrase--the first symphonies of both.

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TagsJames Inverne, Classicalite Recording News, Avie Records, Inon Barnatan, The Brook Street Band, Herwig Zack, Benjamin Hochman, Marina Piccinini, Elizabeth Hainen, Augustin Hadelich, Lada Valešová

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