Classical home listening: Paavo Järvi returns to Bruckner 7; I Giardini play Caroline Shaw | Classical music

Anton Bruckner inspires a special devotion (or the opposite), so if a conductor chooses to record a Bruckner cycle, the possibility is that they will have insights to bring. Not helpful for anyone starting out, given the countless recordings available, from the brazenly apocalyptic to the quiveringly spiritual: from Karajan, Abbado and Haitink to Daniel Barenboim, Christian Thielemann and Iván Fischer.

Paavo Järvi’s new account of Symphony No 7 (1884) (Alpha Classics) – he recorded it live with a different orchestra a decade ago – shows the Tonhalle-Orchester Zürich in peak condition. Tempos never drag. The orchestral sound is detailed and expansive, woodwind expressive, brass white-hot. Colours are rich, tenderness offsetting majesty. The big climaxes, exciting but controlled, avoid that Brucknerian tendency to sound laboured; no indulgence here. This impressive account is part of a symphonic cycle that concludes next year.

The Wheel I Giardini

The Pulitzer prize-winning Caroline Shaw (b.1982) has a gift for sensuous, delicate music in which a sturdy sense of form, often based on nature or architecture, is ever evident. She blends rough with smooth in a manner that manages to be challenging but enticing. I Giardini, a flexible group founded more than a decade ago by cellist Pauline Buet and pianist David Violi, plays chamber works dating back to 2012 on their new album, Caroline Shaw: The Wheel (Alpha Classics).

A solo piano piece, Gustave le Gray, takes Chopin’s A minor Mazurka, Op 17, as a starting point, intriguingly expanded with fresh material. Boris Kerner, for cello and eerie-sounding flower pots, pays homage to the German physicist who invented three-phase traffic theory. That description hardly does justice to the haunting music created here. The title work, The Wheel, for piano and cello, was commissioned by I Giardini. Guided by musical contours of the baroque, it turns beguilingly towards contemplation and demands attentive listening.

Live from the Royal Festival Hall: a rare chance to hear Michael Tippett’s piano concerto. Steven Osborne is soloist with the London Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Edward Gardner. Also featured: Samuel Coleridge-Taylor’s Solemn Prelude and Edward Elgar’s Symphony No 1. Wednesday, 7.30pm, Radio 3/ BBC Sounds.


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