Performance Today Features

Love it! Great new albums

Pianist Isata Kanneh-MasonRobin Clewley, photographer

November 18, 2019

Performance Today's Love it! series explores new albums and the people behind them. Each album is handpicked by a member of the PT team.

Romance: The Piano Music of Clara Schumann
Isata Kanneh-Mason, Liverpool Symphony Orchestra & Holly Mathieson

I think that right now is a significant time for women. Women are doing more, achieving more and they have more opportunities than ever before. The new recording, "Romance" by pianist Isata Kanneh-Mason comes at a perfect time to really send the message home that women's voices are important. The album features the piano music of composer Clara Schumann and this celebration of Schumann's work and legacy is incredibly beautiful and full of passion.

Listening to each piece, you can hear the tenderness and care with which Kanneh-Mason approached the music. Each piece of music on the album was also chosen with intentionality; The collection of pieces include music Schumann wrote at different stages of her life. So, we hear music from Schumann the adolescent as well as from Schumann the young wife and mother. We also hear music Schumann wrote at a time in her life after she'd suffered the loss of a child. The album also features music that Clara Schumann arranged but was written by her husband, Robert Schumann.

Kanneh-Mason also collaborated with other all-star female musicians to create the album: violinist Elena Urioste and conductor Holly Mathieson.

I love everything about this album; the care taken in choosing the music, the collaboration with other female artists and the passion imbued in the performance of each piece. Clara Schumann once said, "A woman must not desire to compose -- there has never yet been one able to do it. Should I expect to be the one?" I think this album of her music does a great job of saying, "Yes, Clara. You can, you should and you did."

-Meghann Oglesby, producer

Sheku Kanneh-Mason, London Symphony & Sir Simon Rattle

"I absolutely loved listening to this new album from cellist Sheku Kanneh-Mason! So much of the music on the album is contemplative and intimate, which really struck a chord with me. I found that I had an emotional connection to each piece. I also really appreciated the variety of music on the album; there's orchestral music, chamber works and even arrangements of folk songs. Kanneh-Mason chose all of the music on the album in order to celebrate music he loves with the people he loves and I think that really comes through in each recording. It's like he just took his heart out, wrapped it in a beautiful box and gave it to us. I hope you love it as much as I did!"
-Meghann Oglesby, producer

Leonora Duarte: The Complete Works
Sonnambula with Teju Cole
Elizabeth Weinfield, Director

"I absolutely love the lush, warm sound of Sonnambula, and I appreciate the work they're doing to unearth lesser known works by women. This album is the first recording of the complete works of Leonora Duarte, a composer who lived in Antwerp in the 17th century. Her story is fascinating: she was raised in a merchant family, and her family was known in the area for their in-house concerts. Duarte wrote music for the viol and intended for the music to be played at home. Sonnambula has captured that intimate feeling so well in this recording. The album also features spoken prose by writer Teju Cole and additional works by Leonora Duarte's musical peers."
-Kathleen Bradbury, associate producer for Performance Today

Angele Dubeau & La Pieta

"This week, I loved listening to the new album Pulsations from Canadian violinist Angele Dubeau and the ensemble La Pieta. The music here is full of emotion, but it never crosses the line to saccharine. Instead, it made me want to get up and move with the propulsive rhythms of the strings. Dubeau arranged all of the pieces on this album for her ensemble and she does a masterful job of creating interesting musical textures that change from piece to piece. You might recognize some of composers from their work on film scores, but I think Dubeau takes one feeling of a character on screen and fractures it glass of a prism, adding complexity and color."
- Suzanne Schaffer, senior producer

Marsalis: Violin Concerto; Fiddle Dance Suite
Nicola Benedetti & Wynton Marsalis
The Philadelphia Orchestra

"The new album by violinist Nicola Benedetti, jazz great Wynton Marsalis and The Philadelphia Orchestra recently appeared on my desk. I was first struck by the interesting collaboration of artists and, at a time when many major orchestras don't stray too far from reliably favorite pieces, I was impressed at this investment in new music. When I began listening, it's clear that creative ideas just tumble from Marsalis's pencil. This isn't a short concerto. Each of the four movements flow through many fun and infectious moods, sincere pleas and satisfying chordal resolutions. When you think of the seemingly limitless musical possibilities and melodies coming from a composer like Marsalis (and the brilliant performance by Benedetti), it makes you wonder why you would limit yourself to just listening to music you already know. There's so much to discover. By the way, if you're wondering if there's a classical violin/jazz trumpet duet in the future, you'll have to listen to Benedetti's interview on our show!
- Suzanne Schaffer, senior producer