For the Record, Op. 87: Hermitage Piano Trio; Eybler Quartet; Mari Samuelsen

June 14, 2019, 6:42 PM · 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!

The Hermitage Piano Trio
The Hermitage Piano Trio. Photo By Lisa-Marie Mazzucco

Hermitage Piano Trio Plays Rachmaninoff
Hermitage Piano Trio
Misha Keylin, violin
Sergey Antonov, cello
Ilya Kazantsev, piano

"When listening to his music — especially his orchestral works — I am always in awe of how skillfully Rachmaninoff utilizes string instruments in conveying the soul, passion and drama in his compositions," said Misha Keylin, violinist in the Hermitae Piano Trio. "The two piano trios on this album were written by Rachmaninoff during his earlier years, but the maturity in his melodies and the themes are unmistakably traditional and on a grand scale. The phrases grow from almost barely audible church psalms and funeral processions to explosive climaxes that almost
sound as if judgment day is upon us. BELOW: An introduction to the Hermitage Piano Trio.

Beethoven String Quartets, Op. 18, Nos. 4-6
The Eybler Quartet
Aisslinn Nosky, violin
Julia Wedman, violin
Patrick Jordan, viola
Margaret Gay, violoncello

When Toronto’s Eybler Quartet released its recording last spring of Beethoven’s Op. 18 quartets, Nos. 1-3, on period instruments, they found themselves in the middle of a small controversy, arising from the Eybler’s choice to follow Beethoven’s original and supposedly "impossible" metronome markings – which have caused some to speculate on Beethoven’s sanity – to the letter. As an early music quartet, the Eyblers approached Beethoven’s Op. 18 as "new music," working from different editions of the score while delving deeply into exhaustive critical notes on the works. "Looking back through the almost 200 years since Ludwig van Beethoven’s death, it is remarkably easy to repeat to ourselves the narrative of Beethoven’s transcendent seriousness, greatness and genius," said violist Patrick Jordan. However, "we also discovered depths of humor, wit and irony in Beethoven that we had not found before, in particular his ready embrace of the commedia dell’arte." Jordan’s liner notes describe the almost operatic Quartet no. 4 in C Minor, with its "blisteringly fast coda"; the cheerful Quartet no. 5 in A Major, with its "lilting Ländler" leading to a "slightly tipsy" Trio; and the Quartet no. 6 in B-flat Major, which "displays the widest emotional range to be found in the set." BELOW: The Eybler Quartet plays IV. Allegretto from Beethoven's String Quartet No. 4 in C minor, Op. 18:

Mari Samuelsen, violin
Konzerthausorchester Berlin; Jonathan Stockhammer conducting

At the emotional heart of the album is Bach’s Chaconne in D minor, whose serenity Samuelsen has chosen to counter with the nervous agitation of "Knee Play 2" from Philip Glass’s "Einstein on the Beach." The rest of the program grew organically from the seeds of Bach and Glass, tracing themes of change and renewal, from the increasingly complex variations of the Chaconne to the expansive melodic development of Clark’s "Mammal Step Sequence." The album also contains Vladimir Martynov’s "The Beatitudes," Peter Gregson’s "Sequence (Four)," arrangements of Jóhann Jóhannsson’s "Heptapod B" and Brian Eno’s "song By this River," and Peteris Vasks’ "Vientulais Engelis (Lonely Angel)". The mix also includes four works by Max Richter, with whom she collaborates on a regular basis, including "Vocal," for solo violin, and "November." "The need to go into a room and just listen to sound – almost like sound therapy – is bigger than ever," Mari said. "People are hungry for it, and I wanted to use my creativity to collaborate and experiment with some of the great people living today. Slowing down, and people leaving their busy lives behind, is only going to become more important, so there will be more room for this type of collaboration, and this type of music, in the years to come." BELOW: Mari Samuelsen plays Max Richter's "November" with the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Long Yu.

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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