Midday Music playlist for Thursday, September 4

Three big new releases from three big names: pianist Simone Dinnerstein, violinist Joshua Bell and pianist Lang Lang. Enjoy!

11 AM

"The Berlin Concert" is the second recording by American pianist Simone Dinnerstein, and it's being as received as enthusiastically as her first, career-launching recording of Bach's Goldberg Variations was last year.

In this live performance in November 2007, Simone Dinnerstein ("Simona Dinnersteen") plays Bach, Lasser and Beethoven to an enthusiastic crowd at the Berlin Philharmonie. It's available from Telarc as a disc or a download.

  • Bach: French Suite No. 5 in G major, BWV 816.
  • Beethoven: Piano Sonata No. 32 in C minor, Op. 111.
  • Bach: Goldberg Variation No. 13 (as an encore).
12 N

Joshua Bell is among the world's most popular violinists, and Vivaldi's Four Seasons are among the world's most popular violin concertos. At last, he and they meet.

Josh Bell is backed by the English chamber orchestra the Academy of Ancient Music. As a bonus, Bell throws in the devilishly tricky "Devil's Trill" Sonata by Giuseppe Tartini. All just out this week from Sony BMG.

We hear the entire album this noon hour.
  • Vivaldi: The Four Seasons, violin concertos, Op. 8, Nos. 1-4 (Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter).
  • Tartini: Violin Sonata in G minor The Devil's Trill
1 PM

Did you watch the opening ceremony of the Olympics in Beijing? Recall a musical number with throngs of green lightbulb-clad dancers gyrating around a grand piano? Well, the young man playing that piano was twenty-something international Chinese-born superstar pianist Lang Lang.

Lang Lang's latest recording is of pieces well suited to his Romantic, impassioned style: the two gorgeous piano concertos by Chopin. With him are conductor Zubin Mehta and the Vienna Philharmonic. The recording officially comes out next Tuesday from Deutsche Grammophon in disc or download form. We'll hear one today and catch the other next week.
  • Chopin: Piano Concerto No. 2 in F minor, Op. 21.