SHEN YE: The Psalms of Tacituroty. Violin Concerto No. 1
Zhi-Jong Wang, violin. Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra / Yang Yang, cond.
ACCENTUS SACD 30464 TT: 53:30

IVES: Piano Sonata No. l. BARTOK: Improvisations on a Hungarian Peasant Songs, Op. 20. MESSIAEN: Cantéyodjata. BACH: Aria variata alla maniera Italiana in A minor, BWV 989.
Tamara Stefanovich, piano
PENTATONE SACE 5186741 TT: 79:39

HINDEMITH: Three Pieces for Cello and Piano (Capriccio / {hantasiestücke / Scherzo). A Frog He Went a-courting. HEIDEN: Sonata for Cello and Piano. Siena. SKOLNICK: Sonata for Cello and Puano. Four Bagatelles for Cello and Piano.
Cécile Grüebler, cello. Tamara Chitadze, piano
CYBELE SACD 361804 TT: 72:08

Butterfly Lovers was composed well over a half-century ago by the team of He Zhanhao and Chen Gang assisted by some of their students. Since that time it has become perhaps the most popular Chinese classical music. It is a work for violin and orchestra rather like a fantasy Chinese fairy tale in which the two lovers are turned into butterflies. Orchestration uses some Chinese folk instruments. This new version is coupled with a recent work by a young chinese composer. Shen Ye. The subtitle, Taciturinty "describes the inner feelings which one might be unable to express by words but also annt keep silent about."Psalms means the praise of humanity and lives and are "full of music." All this is from the flowery program notes, most of which meant nothing to me. All of this music is performed very well indeed, and the recording, made August 2018 in Tokyo Opera Concert Hall is richly detailed with a fine sense of presence.

Pianist Tamara Stefanovich has already made a number of recordings for various labels, most notably perhaps for her participation in Pierre Boulez's 2008 recording of Bartok's Concerto for Two Pianos Percussion and Orchestra. No we have her first recoding for Pentatone It is called Influences, a varied collection os music by Bach, Bartok, Ives, and Messiaen. She wrote program notes for this issue justifying her calling the disk Influences, mentioning that all of these composers were affected by the work of others. Excellent performances in this recording made in Berlin's Teldex Studios June 2018. Fine multi-track audio, as usual, from Pentatone's engineers.

If you are looking for a program of rarely-heard repertory for cello and piano, here it is courtesy of young Swiss cellist Cécile Grüebler assisted by pianist Tamara Chitadze. Supposedly this tells a story and designs a program whose aim is connecting people and generations and showing a new musical path. I don't know just what this means, but there is no question that the cellist has a close association with much of this music. She met 80-plus-year-old composer Walter Skolnik in New York and spent much time with him .German-American Bernhard Heiden had studied with Hindemith, and the disk includes his 1958 sonata and a shorter piece, Siena. These performances are excellent and the recording made October 2018 in Erholungshaus der Bayer, Leverkusen, offers a well-balanced, natural audio picture.

R.E.B. (April 2019)