Scott & Lara St John (solos),
The Knights (Ancalagon)
Among the most interesting young violinists recording today, the Canadian siblings Scott and Lara St. John have been playing together since childhood, with Scott occasionally taking viola duty too. Here, he does the honours on viola with his sister on violin for Mozart's dignified Sinfonia Concertante - a cross between a symphony and a concerto composed in 1779 - in which they are accompanied by the innovative New York orchestral collective The Knights. The warm, bright sound achieved here is compelling, in spite of some rhythmic flabbiness at moments, and the pair play together so naturally that while there remains the requisite musical tension, there is none of the jarring of different tones that can occur in double concertos. Also on the album, which is released on Lara St John's own label, are two of Mozart's violin concertos, No.1 in B Flat Major, performed by Scott, and No.3 in G Major played by Lara, and it is here that both performers really shine. Scott exhibits a darker sound and a more lyrical bent in the first concerto, while Lara's verve, agility and the silvery tone of her 1779 "Salabue" Guadagnini (on permanent loan from a very generous anonymous benefactor) show why she has become one of North America's more popular violinists. The third movement in particular is effervescent. The Knights acquit themselves with brio, too.
Also out in classical
The Collection 3: Chamber
The reclusive Argentine pianist Martha Argerich may not be a familiar name, but her solo performances, in the 1960s and 1970s in particular, feature extraordinary technique and lyricism. This is the label's third Argerich compilation and an enlightening listen.
Anne-Sophie von Mutter, Lambert Orkis
Brahms Sonatas for Piano and Violin
It's all swooshy melodies, rich vibrato and dark passion as the superstar German violinist Anne-Sophie von Mutter offers her interpretations of Brahms' three chamber works for violin and piano with her regular accompanist Lambert Orkis.