The BBC Music Magazine team’s current favourites
Oliver Condy Editor
I had the good fortune to be invited to Berlin recently to hear Igor Levit launch his new Sony Classical album, Igor Levit, Life. Just a few dozen of us heard him at the König Galerie play music by Rzewski, Bach’s Chaconne in Brahms’s lefthand transcription and Peace Piece, a simple but beautiful improvisation by the jazz pianist Bill Evans. It was a memorable, moving evening.
Jeremy Pound Deputy editor
I didn’t know what to expect when I popped the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra’s new disc of orchestral works by Portuguese composer Joly Braga Santos onto my player recently, but I’m glad I did. Though his style varies significantly over the 30 years of works featured on the recording, the two Symphonic Overtures from the 1940s combine the broad orchestral landscape-painting of, say, Vaughan Williams and Moeran with Stravinsky-like edginess.
Rebecca Franks Managing editor
How do you turn Tolstoy’s War and Peace into an opera? With difficulty, found Prokofiev, although his case was not helped by the meddling Soviet authorities. His mammoth opera is riddled with dramatic flaws, yet it was still fascinating to see Welsh National Opera’s vibrant new production (above). With a huge cast, video projections of lavish ballrooms, epic battle scenes and wonderful singing, it was a spectacular event.
Michael Beek Reviews editor
I was recently entranced by composer-pianist Craig Armstrong (plus string ensemble) at
Union Chapel in Islington. I found myself equally captivated in Bath and Bristol, courtesy of another composer-pianist, Ólafur Arnalds, and then bright young things the 12 Ensemble whose performance of Schubert’s Death and the Maiden at St George’s, Bristol was gripping.
Freya Parr Editorial assistant
Most people’s pump-up music before a half marathon might be Kanye West or Daft Punk, but I chose a disc of Richard Allain’s choral music by the Choir of Merton College, Oxford. It gave me just the right amount of impetus to propel me across the Nottingham countryside and control my flailing limbs into something resembling a run.