For the Record, Op. 247: Viano Quartet; Agata-Maria Raatz; cellist Clancy Newman

August 4, 2023, 2:05 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!

Viano Quartet
The Viano Quartet: (L-R) Tate Zawadiuk, Aiden Kane, Lucy Wang and Hao Zhou.

Viano Quartet
Lucy Wang, violin
Hao Zhou, violin
Aiden Kane, viola
Tate Zawadiuk, cello

The Viano Quartet concludes its residency at the Curtis Institute (2021-2023) with the release of its debut album on Curtis Studio – the school's new recording label. The recording captures their performances of movements from four iconic works from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries: the first and last movements from Schubert’s "Death and the Maiden"; the second movement from Florence Price’s quartet in G major; Tchaikovsky’s slow movement from his String Quartet No. 1 and the first movement from Ginastera’s Quartet No. 1. "The first movement of Schubert’s ‘Death and the Maiden’ is a profound battle between light and dark, and we aim to convey this narrative through every note," read the liner notes. "The finale is a tarantella, which is a dance of hysteria, that victims experience upon being bitten by a venomous tarantula." BELOW: Schubert's Quartet No. 14, "Death and the Maiden" in D Minor, D. 810: I. Allegro.

Echo of Bach
Agata-Maria Raatz, violin

In addition to her work as a solo violinist, Agata-Maria Raatz also composes under the pseudonym Clara Jaz. This album is her personal exploration through the history of solo music for violin, tracing its origins from the early Baroque period to the present. It is a musical journey centered on J. S. Bach, an inspiration to many generations of composers. In addition to Bach's Partita No. 2 in D minor, as well as several of her own works, Raatz also explores the work of composer and violinist Jean Paul von Westhoff - his Suite No. 5 in D minor. Bach was 18 years old at the time of its composition, and Westhoff died only two years later at the age of 49. The probability is high that they met at that time and the young Bach became familiar with Westhoff's work. In addition is the work "Cette âme a six ailes tout comme les Séraphins" ("This soul has six wings like the Seraphim"), written by Swiss composer Xavier Dayer especially for Agata-Maria Raatz. BELOW: Trailer for the album:

From Method to Madness: The American Sound
Clancy Newman, cello
Natalie Zhu, piano

Longtime friends and collaborators cellist Clancy Newman and pianist Natalie Zhu have just released a recording featuring music by American composers, with Samuel Barber’s Sonata for Cello and Piano in C Minor, Op. 6; Kenji Bunch’s Broken Music for Cello and Piano; Lukas Foss’s Capriccio for Cello and Piano; and Newman’s own piece, From Method to Madness. Newman and Zhu’s program was born out of a virtual performance which took place during the pandemic shutdown, presented by the Kingston Chamber Music Festival, of which Zhu is the Artistic Director. A patron who was watching online was so taken by the collaboration and the music that he encouraged Newman and Zhu to go into the studio to record, and helped make that possible – a silver lining during a difficult time. The pieces on the album each showcase an element of friendship or collaboration – between composers, performers, and friends. BELOW: Kenji Bunch's "Broken Music" for cello and piano.

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August 5, 2023 at 01:10 PM · that trailer video for Raatz's album is very nice!

August 5, 2023 at 04:53 PM · I agree, the video captures her vision really well, and it’s a compelling vision.

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