For the Record, Op. 199: Mari Samuelsen; Jordan Bak; Elena Urioste; Tomás Cotik; Ehnes Quartet; Joo Yeon Sir; Kronos Quartet

May 26, 2022, 8:37 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!

Mari Samuelsen
Violinist Mari Samuelsen. Photo by Stefan Hoederath.

Mari Samuelsen, violin

Mari Samuelsen’s latest album "Lys" – Norwegian for “Light” – presents music by 13 female composers. It embraces everything from an arrangement of the Beyoncé hit "Halo" to music by twelfth-century Benedictine philosopher, mystic and visionary Hildegard of Bingen. "We humans have so many impressions of light, what light feels like, in good and bad times," Mari Samuelsen said. “I hope that speaks through the music on this album." BELOW: Meredi: White Flowers Take Their Bath.

Jordan Bak, viola
Ji Yung Lee, piano

"I wanted to create a work of art that not only showcases the diverse range of sounds of the viola, but the diverse compositional languages and backgrounds of amazing artists that write for the viola as well," said Jamaican-American violist Jordan Bak of his solo debut album. The album features the world premiere recording of "Tableau XII" by Tyson Gholston Davis, and a diverse roster of composers from the early 20th century to the present: Anne Leilehua Lanzilotti, Joan Tower, Rebecca Clarke, Quinn Mason, Jeffrey Mumford, and Toru Takemitsu. Five of the seven tracks are for viola alone; for Clarke and Takemitsu’s compositions Bak is joined by South Korean pianist Ji Yung Lee. BELOW: Jordan Bak performs Joan Tower’s "Wild Purple":

Elena Urioste, violin
Tom Poster, piano
Kaleidoscope Chamber Collective

Kaleidoscope co-founders Tom Poster and Elena Urioste’s passion for Coleridge-Taylor’s music was ignited when they were invited to curate a performance to mark Kaleidoscope Chamber Collective’s appointment as Wigmore Hall Associate Ensemble. "When we first heard the Nonet, we were immediately swept up in the music’s exuberance and youthful optimism," Poster said. "Following our performance at Wigmore Hall, with all the musicians having fallen in love with the piece, we vowed to make a recording...Elena and I dedicate this album to our son, Tico Urioste-Poster, who was just eleven weeks old when these recording sessions took place." BELOW: Samuel Coleridge-Taylor's Nonet, Op. 2 "Gradus ad Parnassum": IV. Finale

Telemann: 12 Fantasias for Solo Violin
Tomás Cotik, violin

"These 12 Fantasias, with their total of 44 fleeting movements, are a collection brought to life by the emotions of its arias, the effusive momentum of the fugues, and the whirlwind virtuosity of its folkdance-inspired movements," said violinist Tomás Cotik. Cotik, who is violin professor at Portland State University, recorded the works during the pandemic. BELOW: Telemann: Fantasia No. 7 in E-flat Major, TWV 40:20 (Dolce - Allegro)

Beethoven: String Quartets Nos. 15 & 16
Ehnes Quartet
James Ehnes, violin
Amy Schwartz Moretti, violin
Richard O'Neill, viola
Edward Arron, cello

This is the final of four installments in the Ehnes Quartet’s survey of the late Beethoven Quartets. It was recorded in the US with their producer overseeing the sessions from London as the pandemic halted travel plans and sessions were canceled. "The albums we recorded during this intense two-week period will always be treasured reminders for us of a brief, bucolic window of artistic fulfillment during a terribly challenging period for the world," said James Ehnes. They bring to these masterworks many years of experience.
BELOW: The Ehnes Quartet plays Beethoven String Quartet No.15 - 1st mov.

Joo Yeon Sir, violin

"Joo Yeon Sir used her pandemic solitude to discover new works for solo violin, and to revisit favorites. Her new album includes works by Heinrich Biber, Nicolo Paganini, Fritz Kreisler, Joo Yeon Sir herself, Roxanna Panufnik, Fazil Say, Laura Snowden, and Eugène Ysaÿe. BELOW: Passacaglia in G Minor, C. 105 by Heinrich Ignaz Franz Biber.

My Lai
Kronos Quartet
Rinde Eckert, vocalist
Vân-Ánh Vanessa Võ, multi-instrumentalist

The Kronos Quartet presents the world premiere recording of My Lai, an opera composed by Jonathan Berger with libretto by Harriet Scott Chessman. My Lai is a story about the My Lai massacre and the ethical dilemmas of an individual placed in an impossible situation, with a dramatic score emphasizing the bleakness and horror of the Vietnam War. The opera for tenor, string quartet, and Vietnamese instruments features vocalist Rinde Eckert and instrumentalist Va^n-A´nh Vanessa Vo~, who plays the t’rung, da`n bâ`u, and da`n tranh. Violinists David Harrington and John Sherba, violist Hank Dutt, and cellist Sunny Yang make up the Kronos Quartet, which will celebrate its 50th anniversary in the 2023-24 season. BELOW: My Lai Lullaby.

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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