Here's your disc of the week for Dec. 23, 2012. Each week CBC Radio 2's In Concert looks at new classical music releases and selects one recording that you'll want to know about.
Artists: Lara St. John, violin, with Ariana Ghez, oboe; the Simon Bolivar Chamber Orchestra of Venezuela; Scott St. John, violin; and the New York Bach Ensemble.
Repertoire: Violin concertos by J.S. Bach
Label: Ancalagon Records
Lara St. John is a Canadian-born violinist, now living in New York, with a blazing international career and a refreshingly unconventional approach to the business of being a classical musician. Back in 2001, frustrated by the restrictions of the classical recording industry, she established her own record label and promptly produced one of the most critically acclaimed CDs of that year, which included works for solo violin as well as a dazzling performance of Bach's Concerto for two Violins in D minor with brother Scott St. John.
But St. John says she never felt the record was "complete," so not long ago she returned to the studio with Ariana Ghez, principal oboe with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, and the Simon Bolivar Chamber Orchestra of Venezuela, to record one more work: Bach's Concerto for Violin and Oboe in C minor. The complete collection is now available on her own Ancalagon label.
"The original 2001 Concerto album was my first-ever self-produced recording on the Ancalagon label," St. John told In Concert, "and I just ran out of, well, to be frank, time and money. So I couldn't get an oboist. Now, I am far more experienced, have got a recording catalogue, and the concertos and the solo sonatas are complete!"
As both a performing artist and a record label impresario, St. John has an impressive track record. Her Mozart Concerto album featuring the energetic New York ensemble, The Knights, spent three months on the Billboard Classical chart and won a Juno in 2011. She's also released a rambunctious recording called Apolkalypse Now with her polka band known as Polkastra. And she's hard at work on her next release to be entitled I Do. She describes it as a "wedding album for the couple with a sense of humour."
"It is hilarious, fabulous, knee-slapping and irreverent, and we are looking forward to the early 2013 release immensely. Folks can expect tracks like Shotgun Wedding March, J.S. Bachelor Party and Kosher Chicken Dance."
Meanwhile, check out her new Bach Concerto release and savour St. John's gorgeous sound, technical wizardry and generous approach to musical collaborations.
listen Listen to the first movement of Bach's Concerto for Violin and Oboe.
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on Dec 23, 2012