For the Record, Op. 242: Renaud Capucon; Tianwa Yang; Verona Quartet; Christopher Whitley; Nils Økland; Sara Övinge

June 24, 2023, 1:59 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!

Renaud Capucon and Kit Armstrong
Violinist Renaud Capucon and pianist Kit Armstrong.

Mozart: Sonatas for Piano & Violin
Renaud Capuçon, violin
Kit Armstrong, piano
French violinist Renaud Capucon and American pianist Kit Armstrong present Mozart’s 16 Sonatas for violin and piano. The sonatas have been central to this duo’s partnership since they made their debut together with the works at the 2016 Salzburg Mozartwoche. "Everything works in a completely uncomplicated and natural way," Capuçon said of their partnership, "to perform these pieces with Kit is to embark on a wonderful musical journey." And speaking of Capucon, Armstrong said, "When I hear Renaud render Mozart’s lyrical flights with all the sumptuousness and refinement that modern violin playing can have, I am convinced: it is beautiful, and that is what matters."
BELOW: Mozart: Violin Sonata in E Minor, K. 304 - I. Allegro

George Antheil: Violin Sonatas Nos. 1–4
Tianwa Yang, violin
Nicholas Rimmer, piano

New Jersey-born George Antheil (1900–1959) traveled to Europe in 1922 with a determination to become “noted and notorious” as a pianist-composer, soon gaining a reputation as the "bad boy of music," with works such as the infamous Ballet Mécanique. His first three violin sonatas come from this period, with the eclectic Violin Sonata No. 1 displaying the fiercely barbaric influence of Stravinsky, and the jazzier No. 2 developing experiments in "musical cubism." His Violin Sonata No. 3 achieves a synthesis of Stravinskian rhythms with Antheil’s more song-like tendencies. No. 4, dating from a later period, is built on Classical and Baroque models. BELOW: Violin Sonata No. 1: I. Allegro moderato

Verona Quartet
Jonathan Ong, violin
Dorothy Ro, violin
Abigail Rojansky, viola
Jonathan Dormand, cello

The Verona Quartet presents "Shatter," an album that invokes the act of breaking the glass ceiling through exploration of cultural identity, interpersonal communication, and the struggle to overcome invisible barriers. Featuring world-premiere recordings of music by American composers Reena Esmail, Julia Adolphe, and Michael Gilbertson, as well as a collaboration with prize-winning Hindustani singer Saili Oak, this consortium of artists celebrates the creative diversity that flourishes within the American musical landscape. BELOW: Quartet by Michael Gilbertson: II. Simple Sugars

Describe Yourself
Christopher Whitley, violin

In this album violinist and composer Christopher Whitley features all-Canadian works spanning a wide range of compositional approaches. Opening with the virtuoso bluster of Jeffrey Ryan's Bellatrix, he also takes up the idiosyncratic postmodernism of Nicole Lizée, and the textured strata of Fjóla Evans. The album features pieces by artists who are more active outside of the concert music domain than in it. Leslie Ting is a fellow violinist known for her immersive multimedia theatre pieces and her contribution reflects this multidisciplinary outlook. In addition to being an inventive and sought-after percussionist Evan J Cartwright is also a gifted and curious-minded songwriter. Much of the momentum behind Kara-Lis Coverdale's career comes from her work in electronic music, including some collaborations with Tim Hecker. Whitley, who is a founding member of the Thalea String quartet, performed all tracks on the 1700 "Taft" Stradivari, on loan from the Canada Council for the Arts Musical Instrument Bank. BELOW: "Bellatrix," from Describe Yourself.

Nils Økland, violin
Sigbjørn Apeland, keyboard

Violinist and Hardanger fiddler Nils Økland and keyboardist Sigbjørn Apeland, musical partners for 30 years, have long explored the interface of Norwegian traditional music and improvisation. "Glimmer" takes as its starting point Norwegian folk music. Apeland’s collection of pieces from local singers who have helped to keep the traditions alive forms the basis of the repertoire here, along with original compositions. The original compositions heard here include music written for the film Lysets Vanvidd (Frenzy of Light). Directed by Karl Johan Paulsen and Pål Øie, the film concerns the troubled life of Lars Hertervig, the great Norwegian landscape painter of the 19th century, whose highly original work received international recognition only posthumously. Hertervig has become a figure of symbolic importance for Norwegian artists, sometimes viewed as a Van Gogh of the North A sketch by Hertervig is featured on the cover of Glimmer. BELOW: "O du min Immanuel"

Sara Övinge, violin
Norwegian Chamber Orchestra, Edward Gardner, conducting

Swedish violinist Sara Övinge's debut recording features the World Premiere recording of contemporary Norwegian composer Kjetil Bjerkestrand 'Patientia', commissioned by Sara, alongside Philip Glass's Violin Concerto No. 2 "The American Four Seasons." Both concertos knit together solo violin parts with electronics and chamber orchestra. BELOW: Violin Concerto No. 2 "The American Four Seasons": V. Song No. 2.

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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