NPR logo

Bach, Brits And A Bodacious Boston Orchestra: New Classical Albums

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/382130287/382936168" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript
Bach, Brits And A Bodacious Boston Orchestra: New Classical Albums

Music Makers

Bach, Brits And A Bodacious Boston Orchestra: New Classical Albums

Bach, Brits And A Bodacious Boston Orchestra: New Classical Albums

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/382130287/382936168" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Composer Andrew Norman's new album is called Play. BMOP Sound hide caption

toggle caption BMOP Sound

Composer Andrew Norman's new album is called Play.

BMOP Sound

It may be deep midwinter, when music releases are usually sparse, but this month a surprising crop of intriguing classical albums has popped up. In this visit to All Things Considered, host Arun Rath and I listen to a fearless Boston orchestra powering through a symphonic blockbuster by American composer Andrew Norman, as well as a smartly programmed album by the British Aurora Orchestra that includes a Paul Simon song. The popular Anderson and Roe piano duo takes on the sturdy music of Bach, and we'll meet Sonya Yoncheva, a Bulgarian soprano whose star is on the rise.

Hear the Music

Roadtrip is the new album from the British ensemble called Aurora Orchestra.

17Hearts and Bones

  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/382130287/382453640" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Buy Featured Music

    Song
    Hearts and Bones
    Album
    Road Trip
    Artist
    Aurora Orchestra
    Label
    Warner Classics
    Released
    2015

    Your purchase helps support NPR programming. How?

Aurora Orchestra

  • Song: Hearts and Bones
  • from Road Trip

The Aurora Orchestra, based in London, is not too well-known on this side of the pond. The group's new album, Road Trip, is something of a musical travelogue of America, with pieces by such old masters as Aaron Copland and Charles Ives and newer ones like John Adams. Sprinkled throughout are a few songs — traditional and pop — in lovely, supple arrangements by the American composer Nico Muhly, including a version of Paul Simon's "Hearts and Bones" sung by Sam Amidon. Road Trip is indicative of what a number of young, resourceful chamber orchestras (including The Knights and A Far Cry) are doing these days — straddling traditional lines between classical and pop music.

Buy Featured Music

Song
Road Trip
Album
Road Trip
Artist
Aurora Orchestra
Label
Warner Classics
Released
2015

Your purchase helps support NPR programming. How?

The piano duo Anderson and Roe play Bach on their new album.

05Erbarme Dich (from St. Matthew Passion)

  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/382130287/382476997" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Buy Featured Music

    Song
    Erbarme Dich (from St. Matthew Passion)
    Album
    The Art of Bach
    Artist
    Anderson & Roe Piano Duo
    Label
    Steinway & Sons
    Released
    2015

    Your purchase helps support NPR programming. How?

Anderson & Roe

  • Song: Erbarme Dich (from St. Matthew Passion)
  • from The Art of Bach
  • by Anderson & Roe Piano Duo

Greg Anderson and Elizabeth Joy Roe met as freshmen at Juilliard 15 years ago and joined forces as a piano duo. Their videos, including a convincing arrangement of Michael Jackson's "Billie Jean," have been watched by millions. J.S. Bach, in a few intriguing incarnations, is the focus of their new album, which features staples like the Third Brandenburg Concerto and "Sheep May Safely Graze" in acclaimed arrangements (Max Reger, Mary Howe) and a moving suite of excerpts from the St. Matthew Passion arranged by the duo themselves.

Buy Featured Music

Song
The Art of Bach
Album
The Art of Bach
Artist
Anderson & Roe Piano Duo
Label
Steinway & Sons
Released
2015

Your purchase helps support NPR programming. How?

Sonya Yoncheva

  • Song: Le jour sous le soleil beni
  • from Paris, Mon Amour

Bulgarian soprano Sonya Yoncheva's star is beginning to rise. Earlier this month she made a big splash in Verdi's La traviata at New York's Metropolitan Opera. She was so good the audience interrupted one of her scenes with applause — something that rarely if ever happens. Her new album, Paris Mon Amour, contains mainly off-the-beaten-path French opera, like this aria from a rarely heard work by André Messager, Madame Chrysanthème. The opera (based on the same story as Puccini's Madama Butterfly) is set in Nagasaki; here Yoncheva sings, with her creamy lyric soprano voice, about cicadas, which you can hear murmuring in the orchestra.

YouTube

Buy Featured Music

Song
Paris, Mon Amour
Album
Paris, Mon Amour
Artist
Sonya Yoncheva
Label
Sony Classical
Released
2015

Your purchase helps support NPR programming. How?

The Boston Modern Orchestra Project takes on Andrew Norman's audacious piece called Play.

03Level 3 (from Play)

  • Buy Featured Music

    Song
    Level 3 (from Play)
    Album
    Andrew Norman: Play
    Artist
    Gil Rose
    Label
    BMOP/sound
    Released
    1969

    Your purchase helps support NPR programming. How?

Andrew Norman

  • Song: Level 3 (from Play)
  • from Andrew Norman: Play
  • by Gil Rose

Composed for the Boston Modern Orchestra Project (heard here), Andrew Norman's 45-minute orchestral extravaganza is witty, playful, surprisingly transparent — aside from the bazillion little things going on — and probably thrillingly difficult to pull off. This excerpt, from the third section ("Level 3"), finds Norman brilliantly building a crescendo in which a gorgeous oboe line soars above an increasingly roiling orchestra led skillfully by Gil Rose.

Buy Featured Music

Song
Andrew Norma: Play
Album
Andrew Norma: Play
Artist
Gil Rose
Label
BMOP/sound

Your purchase helps support NPR programming. How?

Purchase Featured Music

Andrew Norma: Play

Purchase Music

Buy Featured Music

Album
Andrew Norma: Play
Artist
Gil Rose
Label
BMOP/sound

Your purchase helps support NPR programming. How?

Paris, Mon Amour

Purchase Music

Buy Featured Music

Album
Paris, Mon Amour
Artist
Sonya Yoncheva
Label
Sony Classical
Released
2015

Your purchase helps support NPR programming. How?

The Art of Bach

Purchase Music

Buy Featured Music

Album
The Art of Bach
Artist
Anderson & Roe Piano Duo
Label
Steinway & Sons
Released
2015

Your purchase helps support NPR programming. How?

Road Trip

Purchase Music

Buy Featured Music

Album
Road Trip
Artist
Aurora Orchestra
Label
Warner Classics
Released
2015

Your purchase helps support NPR programming. How?

We no longer support commenting on NPR.org stories, but you can find us every day on Facebook, Twitter, email, and many other platforms. Learn more or contact us.