Music News 2/6/2019



Jeremy Denk, c. 1300 – c. 2000 (Nonesuch, 2 CDs, 19.98) – Pianist Jeremy Denk’s historical survey allows one to hear startling connections, and feel the “sweep and awe” of pieces ranging from those by Machaut, Binchois and Ockeghem to Stockhausen, Glass and Ligeti.

Denk says in the liner note, “You might call this album a version of time-lapse photography, which brings us from the 1300s to the present day in a series of sonic snapshots. I was aiming for a healthy mixture of light and dark, of optimism and pessimism…To find a foothold, I started in the medieval era with two threads: the secular, and the religious. Worldly love, and love of God. At the same time, I felt it was essential to deal with a more purely musical love: the art of counterpoint, a foundation of the long story to come. If you don't care about counterpoint, you should. It is music’s superpower, something it can do that no other art form quite can.”

The cover image is of Martin Puryear’s sculpture, Ladder for Booker T. Washington (1996).

Mercury Rev, BOBBIE GENTRY’S THE DELTA SWEETE REVISITED (Partisan, $13.98) – A tribute to Bobbie Genry’s 1968 album, with a different guest vocalist for each of the 12 tracks. The first, “Okolona River Bottom Band” features Norah Jones. Other vocalists include Margo Price, Phoebe Bridgers, Beth Orton, and Hope Sandoval. The last track was the great hit of 1967, “Ode to Billie Joe,” this time featuring Lucinda Williams.



Steven Isserlis & Olli Mustonen, SHOSTAKOVICH & KABALEVSKY CELLO (Hyperion, $22.98) – The cellist and pianist juxtapose Shostakovich’s Cello Sonata in D minor and Kabalevsky’s Cello Sonata in B flat major and Rondo in Memory of Prokofiev with Prokofiev’s Ballade in C major and Adagio ‘Cinderella and the Prince’.

NOTE: Steven Isserlis will be playing twice this spring in DC.

On Wednesday, March 6, he will be at the Kennedy Center with pianist Connie Shih

On Wednesday, May 1, he will play in a super-trio with violinist Joshua Bell and pianist Jeremy Denk at Strathmore.

Paul Lewis, WEBER SCHUBERT SONATAS (Harmonia Mundi, $19.98) – Pianist Paul Lewis sets Carl Maria von Weber’s Sonata No. 2 with Schubert’s Sonata D. 575.

NOTE: On Friday, March 8, Paul Lewis will give a recital at the Library of Congress.

HAYDN: PIANO SONATAS (Hyperion, $19.98) – Kristian Bezuidenhout plays Piano Sonatas Hob. XVI: 6, 20 & 48 on fortepiano.

NOTE: On Sunday, March 3, Kristian Bezuidenhout will play Mozart with the Chiaroscuro Quartet at the Phillips Collection.

Joyce DiDonato, SONGPLAY (Erato, $18.98) – The soprano’s recital mixes classical and Baroque pieces with a few standards from musicals, all arranged for a small jazz ensemble.

MESSIAEN: CATALOGUE D’OISEAUX (Pentatone, 3 SACD & 1 DVD, $49.99) – One of the most well-received albums of 2018. Pierre-Laurent Aimard is among the most insightful Messiaen specialists in the world, and his recital of the complete Catalogue d’Oiseaux (1956 – 1958) also includes a bonus DVD sharing thoughts on Messiaen at the piano.


Mandolin Orange, TIDES OF A TEARDROP (Yep Roc, $17.99) – The duo of Andrew Marlin and Emily Frantz harmonize beautifully, and write wonderful songs. The first edition of the disc includes a bonus disc with four traditional songs.

NOTE: Mandolin Orange is playing tonight, Thursday, February 7 at the 930 Club.