Listen to TRACK 2: Sextet in F-sharp minor, Op. 8: II. Scherzo: Quasi presto
Famed for his sequence of Piano Concertos, Sterndale Bennett also wrote a small but distinguished body of chamber music. The String Quartet in G major is one of his earliest surviving works, revealing a precocious talent still strongly influenced by Haydn. Mendelssohn is the model for the Sextet, though Bennett’s highly virtuosic piano writing, with its concertante interplay, reinforces the work’s lyrical qualities and required dexterity as well as its advanced harmonies and hymnal beauty. The concise Chamber Trio radiates sheer charm while displaying an even greater grasp of structure and is the first English example in the trio form where both string instruments are given parts independent of the piano.
Listen to TRACK 3:
ELGAR, E. (arr. M. Knight): Serenade in E minor, Op. 20: II. Larghetto
Septura head homeward, with a recording of British music from the first half of the 20th century – a golden age in England’s otherwise chequered compositional history, and a period in which brass instruments, in the form of the brass band, established their place at the very heart of British musical culture. From the many composers of the period whose music endures we have chosen four of the finest: iconic works by Elgar, Parry, Finzi and Walton, re-imagined for the unique sound of the brass septet.
Listen to TRACK 15: A Bernstein Birthday Bouquet: To Lenny! To Lenny! (J. Williams)
† WORLD PREMIERE RECORDING
This recording brings together music from some of Leonard Bernstein’s best-loved scores with seldom heard occasional works and premiere recordings. From the iconic musical West Side Story, the hot-blooded dance number Mambo embodies the show’s dramatic tensions. Slava! celebrates Bernstein’s friend and colleague, the cellist and conductor Mstislav Rostropovich, in music reworked from the daring show 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, from which the Suite rescues further highlights. CBS Music has not been heard since the broadcasting giant’s 50th anniversary celebrations in 1978, while the Birthday Bouquet takes the form of affectionate musical tributes from eight composer colleagues to one of the 20th century’s greatest musicians.
The sparkling overture to Leonard Bernstein’s 1956 musical Candide immediately found a prominent place in concert programs all over the world and is now one of his most frequently performed pieces. Many of Bernstein’s best loved works drew inspiration from the city of New York, and this is true both of the three sailors pursuing female conquest in the ballet Fancy Free, and of the rip-roaring swing rhythm and big tunes from the musical Wonderful Town. Bernstein celebrated his friends and family with his Anniversaries – piano vignettes heard here for the first time in colorfully expanded orchestrations. Bernstein protégée Marin Alsop’s long association with the composer gives her unique insights into and feeling for his music.