McEwen String Quartets, Volume 1; William Lawes: Consort Sets in Five & Six Parts and Vivaldi: Farnace; The Rabbi's Lover
McEwen String Quartets, Volume 1. (Chandos 9926)
The late-Romantic style of the Scottish composer Sir John Blackwood McEwen (1868–1948) gets loving attention from the Chilingirian Quartet on these premier recordings. Acclaimed for its skill, fluency, and energy, the Chilingirian is always in command, whether the material is the summery quiet of "Quartette Provençale," the somber "Threnody" (and isn't that a find?), or the giddiness of McEwen's "Fantasia."
William Lawes: Consort Sets in Five & Six Parts (Alia Vox 9823); and Vivaldi: Farnace, Les Concert Des Nations. (Alia Vox 9822)
Jordi Savall, Spain's preeminent conductor and viola da gamba master, sets his sights on two very different works. With his Hyperion XXI early music ensemble, Savall marks the 400th anniversary of William Lawes, widely regarded as the most important composer of English theater music before Henry Purcell. On the other hand, Farnace, performed on period instruments, marks Savall's first opera recording as well as his debut Vivaldi disc. This three-CD set, accompanied by a beautifully rendered 176-page booklet, presents Farnace for the first time in its complete version and is enhanced with additions from Francesco Corselli's opera by the same name. Powerful and often strikingly beautiful.
The Rabbi's Lover. (Tzadik 7165)
As a member of New York's avant-garde downtown scene, violinist Jenny Sheinman has made a name for herself performing with the likes of Bill Frisell, Norah Jones, the San Francisco Klezmer Experience, and many others. On The Rabbi's Lover, Sheinman shines on a nine-part song cycle that includes a pair of traditional klezmer melodies and a blend of American folk music, klezmer, avant-rock, and jazz.
This article, "Short Takes," is part of the Strings Archive, which you can access with a paid site subscription.
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