MusicWeb International names the Kansas City Symphony Orchestra’s recording of Jonathan Leshnoff: Piano Concerto; Symphony No. 3 with Joyce Yang and Stephen Powell a February 2021 Recording of the Month!
“Both are world-premiere recordings, the symphony set down a week after its premiere performance in 2016, while the Concerto was recorded live at its premiere in November 2019, and both are treated to excellent orchestral playing, as well as superb sonics from Reference Recordings – indeed, the warmth of the sound and balance between soloist and orchestra in the concerto are hugely impressive on this hybrid SACD, not least as it is live. … The disc opens with the Piano Concerto, a four-movement work lasting in total some 26 minutes and dedicated to the soloist on this recording, Joyce Yang, who had previously impressed the composer when he saw her performing Prokofiev’s Third Piano Concerto. … the wit and brilliance that impressed me so much with Double Concerto (premiered in 2018) are once more very evident, along with memorable melodies and scintillating orchestration. … The piano part glitters and sparkles and is despatched with considerable panache by Joyce Yang here, who is aided and abetted by the sympathetic support of the Kansas City Symphony under their music director, Michael Stern. The composer could not have wished for more dedicated performers for the premiere of his concerto… this is a work which, much to my surprise and delight (as it’s a twenty first century composition), is one I have returned to often and always with much pleasure, so it comes with a huge recommendation from me, with a wish that it should be taken up by more pianists and orchestras, as it certainly deserves to be absorbed into the wider repertoire. … The symphony too…is ultimately very distinctive as well and, as with the coupled concerto, it is difficult to imagine a more sympathetic or persuasive performance, nor a better-sounding recording. For those readers who enjoy the music of the first half of the twentieth century (outside the Second Viennese School), these scores will be easily accessible and enjoyable, as they are for me. In conclusion, this disc is a winner and I cannot recommend it highly enough to those curious about hearing new music which is both clever, colourful, melodic and, ultimately, very moving.”—Lee Dunham, MusicWeb International