For the Record, Op. 94: Jennifer Koh; Barenboim-Soltani Trio; Patricia Kopatchinskaja; Sirius Quartet

September 12, 2019, 12:23 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!

Violinist Jennifer Koh
Violinist Jennifer Koh.

Jennifer Koh, violin
Violinist Jennifer Koh's newest album features recently commissioned duo works, with Koh performing with the composers themselves. World-premiere recordings include Qasim Naqvi’s "The Banquet"; Lisa Bielawa’s "Sanctuary Songs"; Du Yun’s "Give Me Back My Fingerprints"; Tyshawn Sorey’s "In Memoriam Muhal Richard Abrams"; Wang Lu’s "Her Latitude"; and Vijay Iyer’s "The Diamond," all newly commissioned by ARCO Collaborative. In addition to the new commissions, the album also includes Nina Young’s "Sun Propeller," in its world-premiere recording, plus two pieces by Missy Mazzoli: "A Thousand Tongues" and "Vespers for Violin." Koh worked closely with the composers as the pieces were being written. "Each collaboration has been truly special and unique," Ms. Koh writes in the CD booklet, "and collectively, they reflect the multiplicity of voices that will guide our art form into the future." BELOW: Jennifer Koh talks about "Limitless."

...and here is a substantial interview with Jennifer, who talks with Jim Ginsburg's Classical Chicago podcast about her life, and about this project:

Mozart: Complete Piano Trios
Michael Barenboim, violin
Daniel Barenboim, piano
Kian Soltani, cello

Legendary pianist and conductor Daniel Barenboim teams up with his son, violinist Michael Barenboim, as well as cellist Kian Soltani to play Mozart's complete works for piano trio. In addition to being a touring soloist, Michael Barenboim is concertmaster of the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra. Soltani was born in Austria to a family of Persian musicians and was a Anne-Sophie Mutter Foundation scholarship who studied at the Kronberg Academy and International Music Academy in Liechtenstein. He plays on the 1694 "London ex-Boccherini" Stradivarius cello. BELOW: Mozart: Divertimento in B-Flat Major, K. 254 - 1. Allegro assai

Time & Eternity
Patricia Kopatchinskaja, violin

Patricia Kopatchinskaja's newest album opens with the Kol Nidre, the introductory prayer to Yom Kippur, read by a cantor of the Jewish community, followed by John Zorn’s (born 1953) musical contemplation on the same. "This music is made out of the blood and tears of tortured souls: a strangled scream, voices muttering amid a terrified silence, the sounds of war in an improvised cadenza," Kopatchinskaja said. "It is about us, our past and our future. At the center is (Karl Amadeus) Hartmann’s 'Concerto funebre.' Juxtaposed is Frank Martin’s 'Polyptyque,' a piece about God’s Passion and the misery endured to attain eternal salvation for humankind. The 'Concerto funebre,' which can also be seen as a Passion, is a testimony to the wrongs that have been done – and are still being done – to human beings, to creation, and to the Creator." BELOW: Excerpts from the lives performance and commentary from Patricia Kopatchinskaja

Playing on the Edge
Sirius Quartet
Fung Chern Hwei, violin
Gregor Huebner, violin
Ron Lawrence, viola
Jeremy Harman, cello

On this album, the New York City based Sirius Quartet features the music of six composers: Jennifer Castellano, Ian Erickson, Brian Field, Marga Richter, and Mari Tamaki. Each piece involves unconventional tactics, from performers choosing the order of movements to music that completely evolves rhythmically and harmonically from beginning to end. Emphasis on dissonant chords, sul ponticello bowings (quite literally playing on the edge), jagged and uneven rhythmic movement, and general innovation and rule-bending from each composer. BELOW: Quartet members describe the process of creating this album:

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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