Music News 5/15/2019


Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla / City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, WEINBERG: Symphonies Nos. 2 & 21 (DG, 2 CDs, $18.98) – The New Yorker’s classical music critic Alex Ross just wrote a rave review of this new album, and about the re-evaluation and the resurgence of new recordings of the music of Mieczyslaw Weinberg (1919 – 1996).  Now, Lithuanian conductor Myrga Gražinytė-Tyla’s leads the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, with violinist Gidon Kremer as soloist and his Kremerata Baltica in two of Weinberg’s symphonies. Symphony No. 2 (1946) is for String Orchestra; Symphony No. 21 “Kaddish” (1990) is a titanic summarizing work. As Mr. Ross writes, “…the latter, dedicated to victims of the Warsaw Ghetto, stands revealed as one of Weinberg's greatest works — fully the equal of the later symphonies of his longtime friend and mentor Shostakovich.”

Ms. Gražinytė-Tyla is also the subject of the cover article of May’s Gramophone Magazine.


Dan Tepfer, NATURAL MACHINES (Sunnyside, $16.98) – Dan Tepfer plays ongoing duets with alto giant Lee Konitz, and has recorded a splendid variations on Bach (Goldberg Variations/Variations).  But lately he has been using a special Yamaha Disklavier piano which can record, transform (with Tepfer’s programming) and then play back new material on the keyboard—which he can them interact with in an ongoing improv.

Listen here to an interview with Tepfer on NPR’s All Things Considered.

Brad Mehldau, FINDING GABRIEL (Nonesuch, $15.98) – Brad Mehldau, most often heard in solo and trio acoustic piano settings, once again expands his boundaries with layers of synths, sound collage, and ethereal vocals by Becca Stevens, Gabriel Kehane, Kurt Elling, and Mehldau himself. There are also signature contributions by trumpeter Ambrose Akinmusiere and drummer Mark Guiliana. These sonic landscapes are woven into a clearly politically-themed album.