Bella Hristova and Michael Houstoun; Yo-Yo Ma


December 11, 2020, 2:18 PM · Welcome to “For the Record,”’s weekly roundup of new releases of recordings by violinists, violists, cellists and other classical musicians. We hope it helps you keep track of your favorite artists, as well as find some new ones to add to your listening!

Violinist Bella Hristova and pianist Michael Houstoun.

Beethoven Piano and Violin Sonatas
Bella Hristova, violin
Michael Houstoun, piano

Happy birthday, Beethoven! Here’s one way to celebrate: immerse yourself in more than four hours of elegantly-played, beautifully produced Beethoven Sonatas for Piano and Violin — recorded in complete by violinist Bella Hristova and pianist Michael Houstoun. Hristova performs on her 1655 Nicolò Amati violin, with New Zealand-based Houstoun, a pianist known for his Beethoven expertise, having twice performed the complete Beethoven’s piano sonatas in seven-concert cycles. BELOW: Hristova and Houstoun perform Beethoven’s Piano and Violin Sonata No. 6 in A, Op. 30 No. 1: I. Allegro

Songs of Comfort and Hope
Yo-Yo Ma, cello
Kathryn Stott, piano

Songs of Comfort and Hope is inspired by the series of recorded-at-home musical offerings that Ma began sharing in the first days of the COVID-19 lockdown in the United States. Throughout the spring and summer, Yo-Yo Ma’s #SongsofComfort grew from a self-shot video of Antonín Dvorák’s “Goin’ Home” into a worldwide effort that has reached more than 18 million people. Ma and Stott’s album includes 21 new recordings, with modern arrangements of traditional folk tunes, canonical pop songs, jazz standards, and mainstays from the western classical repertoire. “This is music that tells stories, that marks occasions private and public, that gives voice to celebrations, remembrances, and all of life’s mysteries,” they said. Among them: “Shenandoah,” “Fantasia on Waltzing Matilda,” “Scarborough Fair,” “We’ll Meet Again,” and “Gracias a la Vida.” BELOW: Yo-Yo Ma and Kathryn Stott perform “Over the Rainbow”:

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If you have a new recording you would like us to consider for inclusion in our Thursday “For the Record” feature, please e-mail Editor Laurie Niles. Be sure to include the name of your album, a link to it and a short description of what it includes.

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