As recently announced, Mana'o Radio (91.7FM Maui) has recently set up an on-demand streaming feature, valid for 14 days. Sad to say, something went wrong with the new system last Sunday, but you may link directly to an air check of the full-length show from the box above. For the music only, click through to our Apple Music playlist.
Mozart's Violin (Sony Classics 2020)
Christoph Koncz, Les Musiciens du Louvre
Concerto No. 3 in G major K 216
- I. Allegro
- II. Adagio
- III. Rondo. Allegro – Andante – Allegretto [– Tempo primo]
Christoph Koncz, who hails from the German city of Konstanz, on the shores of the vast lake of that name, has been communing with fiddles of legend from childhood. Born into a family of Austrian-Hungarian musicians in 1987, he wrung hearts at age nine as the short-lived prodigy Kaspar Weiss in François Girard's classic art film The Red Violin. Joshua Bell, well past his Wunderkind phase, recorded the soundtrack; from then on, Koncz has paddled his own canoe. As principal second violin of the renowned Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra since age 20, Koncz plays a prime Stradivari, the so-called ex-Brüstlein (1707), on long-term loan from the Oesterreichische Nationalbank. For his new recording of the complete Mozart violin concertos, he has at his fingertips an heirloom of even deeper mystique, shown here. Built in the Southern German workshop of the Klotz family, the violin was Mozart's own; the museum in his Salzburg birthplace holds no rarer treasure. Though seen by multitudes, the Klotz is seldom heard, and in truth, its antique subtleties have been known to confound more than one or two latter-day Paganinis. In Koncz's hands, the Sleeping Beauty awakes and sings. As soloist and leader of the excellent Musicians du Louvre, Koncz dots and crosses all the I's and T's as authenticity demands: the strings are gut, the tuning is low, the bow is baroque, and so on. But all that is just the beginning. Artistically, his reading stands out for its intimacy, freedom from affectation, and pearlescent songfulness. In the absence of cadenzas by the composer, who in concert would improvise these unaccompanied flights of fancy on the spot, Koncz supplies his own, showing wit and an unerring sense of Mozartian measure.
For your further consideration
David Serkin Ludwig: The Anchoress (XAS 2020)
Hyunah Yu, PRISM Quartet & Piffaro, The Renaissance Band
- What is my life?
- This is the four burns of the soul
- When I woke up sighing
Here are excerpts from a highly praised chamber opera for a single character, amounting to nearly half its running time. Rather than marry, our heroine seeks refuge not in some run-of-the-mill convent but rather in absolute solitude (remember La Forza del Destino?). In our time of quarantines and social distancing, some may sense a certain resonance here. I'm unpersuaded, frankly. The material strikes me as lugubrious and monotonous--not, however, as monochromatic, thanks to instrumentals from a mashup of medieval winds plus saxophones with a hint of percussion plus theorbo doubling lute. The resulting sonic tapestry exerts quite a tidal pull.
Reminiscences of Brazil (Divine Arts 2020)
Justin Badgerow, piano
- Villa-Lobos, Bachianas brasieiras No. 4: I. Prelúdio, Introduçāo
- Milhaud, Saudades do Brasil: I. Copacabana
- Camargo Guarnieri, Dansas Brasiliera
The Villa-Lobos is grand, architectonic; the Milhaud easy-going, slightly dissonant, a little woozy with syncopation; the Camargo Guarnieri tangy, flight, and sexy. Justin Badgerow, a pianist new to me, catches the passing moods like butterflies on the wing.
The 3-Piano Project (Divine Art 2020)
Zaynep Ucbasaran, Miguel Ortega Chavaldes & Sergio Gallo
- Edson Zampronha, S'io esca vivo (first movement)
"Chopsticks on crack," said my confere Paul Janes-Brown after we gave this one a spin. I laughed, but for me, the surprise was how lacy the music was. You'd expect lots of noise from three concert grands with their lids off, right? Given the title ("If I get out alive"), perhaps the mood might trigger your latent claustrophobia, but no. Not sure what the composer was up to, honestly, but his music does tickle the eardrum.
The French Album (Cédille 2020)
Jorge Federico Osorio
- Chabrier: Habanera
- Debussy, Prélude, Book 1, No. 10, La catédrale engloutie
- Fauré, Pavane, Op. 50
Dreamy performances of Chabrier's lazy island music and Fauré's courtly dance—plus a spacious account of Debussy's sunken Notre Dame, its bell tolling gloomily in the depths with the slow roll of the waves.