For the Record, Op. 28: ARC Ensemble; Kronos Quartet; Mari Samuelsen; Kavakos/Ma/Ax

September 14, 2017, 9:00 AM · Welcome to "For the Record,"'s weekly roundup of new releases of recordings by violinists, violists, cellists and other classical musicians. We hope it helps you keep track of your favorite artists, as well as find some new ones to add to your listening!

Chamber Works By Szymon Laks
ARC Ensemble

Composer Szymon Laks (1901-1983) was a Polish Jew living in Paris when he was rounded up by the Nazis and eventually deported to Auschwitz. As the conductor of the prison orchestra, Laks enjoyed small privileges that likely spared his life. His survival makes for a compelling tale, but ironically it left his reputation diminished and his music largely overlooked. The ARC Ensemble of Canada's Royal Conservatory aims to bring Laks work's back to light with this release, which includes chamber works written over a 40-year span of his life. "As extraordinary as Laks’ story may be, it is the quality and substance of his music that merits our attention," said ARC Ensemble Artistic Director Simon Wynberg. "His work reflects the sensibility of his time, very much in the neo-classical tradition of the early twentieth century. It has the refinement, vibrancy and balance characteristic of the French school. He had both great ideas and great craftsmanship, but unfortunately this style was considered passé following World War II." The CD continues the ARC Ensemble’s Music in Exile series, which uncovers and highlights music lost to political suppression. BELOW: The ARC Ensemble plays the second movement, Lento sostenuto, of the Laks Piano Quintet:

Kronos Quartet
Trio da Kali

The Kronos Quartet has teamed up with the West African group Trio da Kali, in a cross-fertilization that brings the instruments of a Western string quartet into the setting of traditional Malian griot music. Kronos violinists David Harrington and John Sherba, violist Hank Dutt and cellist Sunny Yang join balafon player Fodé Lassana Diabaté, bass ngoni player Mamadou Kouyaté and singer Hawa 'Kassé Mady' Diabate in this project. BELOW: Members of the Kronos Quartet and Trio da Kali talk about their collaboration.

Brahms: The Piano Trios
Leonidas Kavakos, violin
Emanuel Ax, piano
Yo-Yo Ma, cello
Ax, Kavakos and Ma to Perform All Three Brahms Piano Trios
"From the very first note we ever played, Emanuel Ax, Yo Yo Ma and I felt a priceless blessing,” Kavakos said. "After playing just the Op. 8 Trio in Tanglewood, the urge to repeat and expand was immediate. Performing all the trios was the next step, from which the idea of this recording was born. It has been an experience full of musical joy. It is my hope that listeners will join us in experiencing all this and more, in what has been an absolutely amazing musical and human journey."

Nordic Noir
Mari Samuelsen, violin
Hakon Samuelsen, cello
Trondheim Soloists

Violinist Mari Samuelsen launches her solo career with an album of atmospheric music from leading composers from the Nordic crime genre. Her newest release features 30 minutes of new compositions by Frans Bak (The Killing), Uno Helmersson and Johan Söderqvist (The Bridge), as well as original music and arrangements by Arvo Pärt and Ólafur Arnalds. New compositions were written with Mari, as she was involved in the writing process through workshops with the composer. Mari has built a strong reputation for performing new music and reaching new listeners, through performances with Max Richter and The 12 Ensemble. She premiered this album repertoire at London’s Barbican Centre, May 2017. BELOW: Samples from the "Nordic Noir":

If you have a new recording you would like us to consider for inclusion in our Thursday "For the Record" feature, please e-mail Editor Laurie Niles. Be sure to include the name of your album, a link to it and a short description of what it includes.


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