Sean Shibe, LOST & FOUND (Pentatone, $16.99) – Sean Shibe switches from the classical to the electric guitar, with its many timbral possibilities, in a fascinating recital spanning ten centuries. Starting with Hildegard von Bingen and ending with Julius Eastman, Shibe interleaves pieces by Chick Corea (three of his “Children’s Songs”), Bill Evans, Meredith Monk, Julius Eastman, Olivier Messiaen, Moondog (three tunes), and new works by Daniel Kidane, Oliver Leith, and Shiva Feshareki; many are world premiere recordings.
CARLOS SIMON: REQUIEM FOR THE ENSLAVED (Decca, $14.98) – From Charles T. Downey’s ionarts review:
“In 1838, the Jesuit priests in charge of what was then Georgetown College paid off that institution’s debts. The money came from the sale of 272 enslaved persons, including children as young as two months old, who were sent on ships to plantations in Louisiana. In 2016, Georgetown University undertook a reckoning with this terrible event in its past. In an attempt to right a historical wrong, the university offered a free college education to all verified descendants of these enslaved people. Georgetown University was not the only Jesuit or Catholic institution in the area, founded before slavery was made illegal, to revisit this sordid part of their past, including Gonzaga College High School and Georgetown Visitation Convent.
As part of its plans aiming at restitution, Georgetown University commissioned this Requiem for the Enslaved from rising American composer Carlos Simon. It is one of many such new works being commissioned and premiered in the last few years, in the wake of widespread anti-racism protests across the country…In this work, alternately reflective and militantly angry, Simon interweaves the structure and texts of the Catholic Requiem Mass with new texts by Memphis-based rapper Marco Pavé.
Carlos Simon is at the piano, with MK Zulu on trumpet, and Hub New Music, a flute-clarinet-violin-cello quartet from Boston.
KURTÁG: KAFKA-FRAGMENTE (Harmonio Mundi, $19.98) – Soprano Anna Prohaska and violinist Isabelle Faust team up for György Kurtág Kafka-Fragmente (1985-87), a suite of 40 pieces—lasting from 14 seconds to 7 minutes--using fragments of Kafka’s diaries, letters, and a posthumous text. These are wide-ranging and intense miniatures, sung and played by two of the world’s best in their field.
BRITTEN: ILLUMINATIONS / SERENADE / NOCTURNE (Harmonia Mundi, $19.98) – “In these three song cycles, Britten draws his inspiration from the peaks of European poetry (Shakespeare, Blake, Shelley, Keats, but also Rimbaud), the better to push back the boundaries of the genre. He multiplies the relationship between voices and instruments, moving from strings alone (Les Illuminations) to a string ensemble featuring obbligato wind instruments, harp and timpani (Nocturne), not forgetting the fascinating dialogue with the horn in the Serenade.”
The tenor soloist is Andrew Staples; the horn soloist is Christopher Parkes, and Daniel Harding conducts members of the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra.
The Knights, THE KREUTZER PROJECT (Avie, $17.99) – The Knights, the Brooklyn-based orchestral collective, present another intriguing program, anchored by an orchestral arrangement of Beethoven’s Violin Sonata No. 9 “The Kreutzer” featuring Colin Jacobsen as the violin soloist. Between the Beethoven and an orchestral arrangement of Janáček’ String Quartet No 1 “Kreutzer,” are two new works inspired by these two masterworks: Anna Clyne’s Shorthand (with Karen Ouzounian as cello soloist) and Colin Jacobsen’s Kreutzings.
BRAHMS: STRING SEXTETS (Alpha, $18.99) – Brahms’s two String Sextets played by the Belcea Quartet with two of my favorite soloists: Tabea Zimmermann, viola, and Jean-Guihen Queyras, cello.
MOZART: PIANO CONCERTOS NOS 9 & 18 (Harmonia Mundi, $19.98) – Kristian Bezuidenhout and the Freiburg Baroque Orchestra play Concertos Nos 9 and 18, K. 271 & 456, played on period instruments, featuring Bezuidenhout on the fortepiano.
HAYDN: STRING QUARTETS OP 42, 72 & 103 (Hyperion, $19.98) – The Takács Quartet