For the Record, Op. 206: Zina Schiff Plays William Grant Still; Kaleidoscope Chamber Collective; LA Phil

July 29, 2022, 12:22 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!

William Grant Still and Zina Schiff
Composer William Grant Still and violinist Zina Schiff.

William Grant Still: Music for Violin and Orchestra
Zina Schiff, violin
Royal Scottish National Orchestra, Avlana Eisenberg conducting

William Grant Still (1895-1978) composed nearly 200 works and he broke a number of barriers. He was the first African American to conduct a major American symphony orchestra, the first to have a symphony performed by a leading orchestra, the first to have an opera performed by a major opera company, and the first to have an opera performed on national television. Still hoped "that my music may serve a purpose larger than mere music. If it will help in some way to bring about better interracial understanding in America and in other countries, then I will feel that the work is justified." Violinist Zina Schiff, a Heifetz protégé who recalls meeting William Grant Still as a young student, joins her daughter, conductor Avlana Eisenberg, in this recording that includes world premiere orchestral versions of Summerland, Violin Suite, Pastorela, American Suite, Threnody, Serenade, Fanfare for the 99th Fighter Squadron, Can’t You Line ‘Em and Quit Dat Fool’nish. BELOW: Excerpts from the album:

Fanny & Felix Mendelssohn
Kaleidoscope Chamber Collective

Fanny Mendelssohn Hensel, born four years before her brother, Felix Mendelssohn, was an accomplished pianist and a prolific composer. When she died at age 42 of a stroke, she left around 460 pieces of music, about 250 of which are songs. The difficulties of making a career in her own era (her supportive father would not allow her to publish or work as a ‘professional’ composer) have condemned much of her work to obscurity, a situation that is now rapidly being reversed. Here the award-winning Kaleidoscope Chamber Collective performs her early Piano Quartet, composed when she was just 17, and final chamber work, the Piano Trio. Felix Mendelssohn’s early Piano Sextet precedes these. Felix never published the work, perhaps because of the unusual scoring, so it became his Op. 110 when published, posthumously, in 1868. BELOW: Trailer for the album:

Dvorák: Symphonies Nos. 7-9
Los Angeles Philharmonic, Gustavo Dudamel conducting

Los Angeles Philharmonic Music Director Gustavo Dudamel draws on the spiritual roots of music in Antonín Dvorák's Czech homeland and reflects on the ideas that the composer developed during his time as director of the National Conservatory of Music of America in New York City in this recording of the composer's Symphonies Nos. 7, 8 and 9. BELOW: Dvorák: Symphony No. 9 in E Minor, Op. 95, B. 178, "From the New World" - II. Largo:

If you have a new recording you would like us to consider for inclusion in our "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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