Pluhar, Jaroussky and Fray: Not a Law Firm, But Three Virgin Classics Artists Bound for the Big Apple

Three remarkable Virgin Classics artists are headed this fall to New York, where they will appear in two concerts at Carnegie’s Zankel Hall. Early music maverick Christina Pluhar, leading her dynamic Baroque ensemble L’Arpeggiata, will team up with French star countertenor Philippe Jaroussky in a performance on Friday, October 29 that will feature “Teatro d’amore”, a Monteverdi-inspired program recorded previously for Virgin Classics. The concert marks their Zankel Hall debut. The following month, the charismatic young French pianist David Fray returns to New York City to perform a program of Schubert and Bach, composers who were featured on Fray’s first three much acclaimed Virgin Classics albums. The recital on Tuesday, November 16 will mark Fray’s New York recital debut.

With their singular approach combining early music performance practice with the inspiration of folk, jazz and popular music, Christina Pluhar and L’Arpeggiata present audiences with an experience that might be best described as a Baroque jam session. At its roots, L’Arpeggiata is devoted to instrumental improvisation, as well as taking a different approach to singing influenced by traditional folk music, and creating and staging attractive live shows. Reviewing Teatro d’amore, the group’s debut release on Virgin Classics, a reporter for BBC Radio 3 praised the “unusually gifted musicians who work in that grey area where art music meets folk.” The reporter continued, “Here they’re exploring the simple repeated bass lines and harmonies that have formed the basis for all kinds of music, in every continent, from the earliest dance music, through folk, classical, romantic and contemporary art music, jazz, and of course pop and rock.” A review of the album in the All Music Guide noted, “These performances shimmer with vibrant energy.”

A video excerpt of Teatro d’amore is available here:

L’Arpeggiata’s second album for the label, Via Crucis, was released earlier this year and also presents Philippe Jaroussky as one of the guest soloists. Jaroussky, an exclusive Virgin Classics artist, has built an enormous following in his native France and is increasingly active in the United States. In January 2010 Jaroussky made his New York recital debut at Weill Hall performing belle époque songs featured on his album Opium. Jaroussky’s next solo recording, Caldara in Vienna, is slated for release in the U.S. in December and presents the countertenor with Concerto Köln directed by Emmanuelle Haïm. The lavishly packaged album, which includes a hard-bound 100-page booklet, continues Jaroussky’s rediscovery of long-forgotten arias for high male voice. Caldara, a contemporary of Bach, Handel and Vivaldi, was the first composer to set many librettos by the great Metastasio and Zeno.

David Fray has long expressed his resolute commitment to the German repertoire, so it is, perhaps, no surprise that music by Bach and Schubert figures prominently on his Zankel Hall program, as it has done on his first three releases for Virgin Classics. His debut album for the label innovatively paired music by Bach and Boulez, prompting the New York Times to write, “The superbly played and thoughtful program should help spread the news about this emerging French artist, now 26. In both Bach and Boulez, Mr. Fray displays an articulate touch, splendid command of shadings, and nimble finger work. The youthful freshness of the performances is especially appealing. Mr. Fray is not intimidated by either giant.”

His next album was an all-Bach album, with Fray leading the Bremen German Chamber Philharmonic in the four Keyboard Concertos BWV 1052, 1055, 1056 and 1058. BBC Music magazine praised the album, noting, “Fray’s command of color and imaginative highlighting is intoxicating, and there is a freshness which makes for indisputably rewarding listening. Fray’s third album was dedicated exclusively to the music of Schubert. Soon after its release in November 2009, the Philadelphia Inquirer gave the album its top rating and called Fray “a hugely imaginative pianist given to Byronic flights…[with] both the personality and fingers to pull it off.”

Fray’s last performance in New York was at Mostly Mozart this past summer where – in his debut at the popular festival – he performed Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 22. Reviewing the performance, the New York Times observed, “This work has more and deeper moods than some Mozart concertos, and Mr. Fray traced them knowingly…ultimately emerging into pure Mozartean joy by way of a witty exit from the cadenza of the finale and a few late flourishes.” That same concerto will appear, along with concertos nos. 20 and 25, on a new all-Mozart album slated for release in December, featuring Fray in partnership with the Philharmonia Orchestra and conductor Jaap van Sweden.

EMI Classics and Virgin Classics artists on tour – fall 2010

October 23

Xuefei Yang: recital at Westmoreland Congregational Church (Bethesda, MD)

October 29

Christina Pluhar and L’Arpeggiata perform the music of Monteverdi and his contemporaries – repertoire heard on their debut release for Virgin Classics, Teatro d’Amore – with Philippe Jaroussky at Carnegie’s Zankel Hall (New York, NY)

October 29 and 30

Ingrid Fliter: Beethoven Piano Concerto No. 1 with Utah Symphony / Thierry Fischer (Salt Lake City, UT)

October 29-31

Yannick Nézet-Séguin: Symphonies by Haydn and Mahler with Philadelphia Orchestra at Verizon Hall (Philadelphia, PA)

October 29 and 31

Sarah Chang: Bruch Concerto with Pittsburgh Symphony / Ludovic Morlot (Pittsburgh, PA)

November 5 and 6

Alison Balsom: Hummel Trumpet Concerto with Charlotte Symphony / Christopher Warren-Green (Charlotte, NC)

November 5-7

Xuefei Yang: Rodrigo’s Concerto de Aranjuez with Detroit Symphony / Joana Carneiro (Detroit, MI)

November 9

Alison Balsom: recital at the Schubert Club (Minneapolis, MN)

November 11-14

Ingrid Fliter: Ravel Piano Concerto with Dallas Symphony Orchestra / Jun Märkl (Dallas, TX)

November 16

David Fray: New York recital debut at Carnegie’s Zankel Hall features music by Bach and Schubert, repertoire heard on his first two Virgin Classics releases (New York, NY)

November 18, 19, and 21

Ingrid Fliter: De Falla’s Nights in the Garden of Spain with Atlanta Symphony / Jun Märkl (Atlanta, GA)

November 20

Alison Balsom in concert at Peoples’ Symphony Concerts (New York, NY)

November 22 – December 18

Yannick Nézet-Séguin: Verdi’s Don Carlo at the Metropolitan Opera (New York, NY)

December 1-4

Leif Ove Andsnes: Risor Chamber Music Festival on tour at Carnegie Hall (New York, NY)

December 17 – January 1

Sir Simon Rattle makes Metropolitan Opera debut conducting Debussy’s Pelléas et Mélisande (New York, NY)

For further information:

Visit EMI Classics’ YouTube channel for video previews of many of its new and recent releases:

www.youtube.com/user/emiclassics.

Author: James McQuiston

Ph.D. in Political Science, Kent State University.

I have been the editor at NeuFutur / neufutur.com since I was 15. Looking for new staff members all the time; email me if you are interested. Thanks!

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