For the Record, Op. 228: Luka Faulisi; Harlem Quartet; Isabelle Faust; Pekka Kuusisto; COOS Quartet; Spektral Quartet; Peter Herresthal

March 3, 2023, 1:32 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!

Luka Faulisi, violin
Itamar Golan, piano

"Opera inhabits an ideal world of myth with its mixture of theatre, poetry, music and magnificent places," said violinist Luka Faulisi, 20, who presents his Sony Classical debut album of music from Romantic opera. It includes Franz Waxman’s Carmen Fantasy (as made famous by Jascha Heifetz), Henryk Wieniawski’s Fantasy on Themes from Gounod’s Faust, Leopold Auer’s arrangement of "Lensky’s Aria" from Tchaikovsky’s opera Eugene Onegin and Fausili’s own version of Violetta’s aria "Sempre libera" from Verdi’s La Traviata. "I was looking for arrangements that would avoid any sense of gratuitous virtuosity and excessive ostentation." Faulisi studied at the Maastricht Conservatory with Boris Belkin and now studies at the Academy Lorenzo Perosi in Biella, Italy with Pavel Berman. BELOW: Carmen Fantasie: Prélude - Habanera:

Under an Indigo Sky: Works by Edward Hart
Harlem Quartet
Yuriy Bekker, violin
Charleston Symphony Orchestra, Ken Lam, conducting

This album features two works by Charleston S.C. native Edward Hart: "A Charleston Concerto" and "Under an Indigo Sky." "A Charleston Concerto" was written to commemorate the 350th Anniversary of the city of Charleston; it features a collaboration with the Charleston Symphony and the Harlem Quartet. "Under an Indigo Sky" for violin and orchestra is a musical love letter written to Hart’s geographical home, and in this recording features violinist Yuriy Bekker. BELOW: A Charleston Concerto: III. Tomorrow

Stravinsky: Violin Concerto & Chamber Works
Isabelle Faust, violin
François-Xavier, piano

Isabelle Faust and François-Xavier Roth explore extremely contrasting facets of Stravinsky’s output for violin. From the Concerto to the Pastorale, the composer plays with codes and colors, sketching extraordinarily vivid soundscapes. Once again, the musicians of Les Siècles have succeeded in rediscovering the works’ original dynamic by using period instruments – and that changes everything. BELOW: Faust performs Stravinsky's Violin Concerto in D Major: IV. Capriccio.

Symmetria Pario: Creation
Pekka Kuusisto, violin
Joonas Ahonen, piano

Violinist Pekka Kuusisto and pianist Joonas Ahonen play a program that includes music of Clarice Assad, Mehmet Sanlikol, Yuko Mabuchi, Ricky Kej, Adam Knight Gilbert, Cecilia Damstro¨m, Harrison Birtwistle, Missy Mazzoli and Hannah Kendall. The album explores the “beginnings of things,” the origin of the universe as expressed in music, and various creation stories from different cultures around the world. BELOW: Couldn't find any videos from this album, but if you just want to watch Pekka, here is a treat: his encore "My Darling is Beautiful" at the BBC Proms in 2016.

Homage: Chamber Music from the African Continent & Diaspora
Castle of Our Skins (COOS) quartet
Gabriela Diaz, violin
Matthew Vera, violin
Ashleigh Gordon, viola
Francesca McNeeley, cello
Samantha Ege, piano

Boston-based Castle of our Skins (COOS) quartet and British pianist Dr. Samantha Ege highlight classical repertoire that have been long-neglected or forgotten by the musical establishment written by five Black composers from Africa and the diaspora. "Though many of the pieces on Homage will be unfamiliar to the majority of classical music lovers, the themes of fortitude, resistance, and hope will resonate deeply," Ege said. "We are excited for listeners to immerse themselves in the music and take this journey with us."
BELOW: Full performance at Oxford's Sheldonian Theatre: Homage: Chamber Music from the African Continent and Diaspora

Behind the Wallpaper
Spektral Quartet
Theo Espy & Clara Lyon, violins
Doyle Armbrust, viola
Russell Rolen, cello

Composer Alex Temple's gender transition inspired this stylistically unpredictable and mysterious new work. "This is the album I wish my teenage self could have worn out and had to buy again," violinist Clara Lyon said. "To enter this lush, extraordinary world and be welcomed to consider, even revel, in my own perceived weirdness, would have done heaps of good for me growing up, and also been a beautiful way to explore some of the big questions I had on my mind." Beyond the album’s themes of exile and transformation, renewal and transcendence, "Behind the Wallpaper" capers through the centuries, with elements of indie pop, Weimar cabaret, Elizabethan music, and 19th-century Romanticism. BELOW: "Night After Night" featuring vocalist Julia Holter.

Dark with Excessive Bright
Peter Herresthal, violin
Missy Mazzoli, composer
Bergen Philharmonic, James Gaffigan conducting
Arctic Philharmonic, Tim Weiss conducting

Here is an album of mostly world premiere recordings composed by Grammy nominee Missy Mazzoli. The title work is heard in two versions: one for solo violin and string orchestra and another for solo violin and string quintet. It also includes Mazzoli’s Sinfonia (for Orbiting Spheres), These Worlds in Us and Orpheus Undone, and Herresthal plays her solo piece with electronics Vespers for Violin, the only work on the album to have been recorded previously and a 2019 Grammy nominee for Best Classical Composition.

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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