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      Archive for January, 2012

      January 29, 2012

      Berlioz: Harold in Italy, Op 16 (39:10)

      Marc Minkowski, Anne Sofie von Otter, Antoine Tamestit, and Les Musiciens du Louvre have joined forces to offer thrilling performances of two emblematic pieces of Berlioz: Les Nuits d’été and Harold en Italie. This new release is presented in a splendid package with a 76-page color booklet.

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      Rating: 3.8/5 (5 votes cast)

      Schubert: Four Impromptus, D 899: #1 in C minor (11:37)

      Simone Dinnerstein’s new album combines Bach’s Partitas Nos. 1 and 2 with Schubert’s Four Impromptus, D 899. She says, “Bach and Schubert, to my ears, share a distinctive quality. Their non-vocal music has a powerful narrative, a vocal element. The effect is that of wordless voices singing textless melodies.”

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      Rating: 4.5/5 (4 votes cast)

      Schubert: Notturno in E-flat major, D 897 (9:42)

      The Kalichstein-Laredo-Robinson Trio is heard in all of Schubert’s music for piano trio – the two great masterpieces, as well as the rarely played Sonatensatz and Notturno. In addition, Sharon Robinson and Joseph Kalichstein perform the “Arpeggione” Sonata.

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      Rating: 5.0/5 (1 vote cast)

      Castellanos: El Río de las Siete Estrellas (14:55)

      Evencio Castellanos belonged to the generation of Venezuelan composers who established a new nationalistic style in the first half of the 20th century. El Río de las Siete Estrellas (The River of the Seven Stars) describes events of pre-colonial Venezuelan history leading up to the country’s independence in 1821.

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      Rating: 4.7/5 (3 votes cast)

      Neidhart: Clausula (3:53); Sinc eyn gulden hoen / Der munich (7:40); Je muir, Je muir (1:40)

      Neidhart was one of the most popular Minnesingers—or “poet-musicians”—of the late Middle Ages. The “Frankfurt Fragment” manuscript has never been recorded in full, and is performed by one of the most outstanding ensembles in the field.

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      Rating: 4.8/5 (4 votes cast)

      Rimsky-Korsakov: The Snow Maiden: Suite (12:34)

      Rimsky-Korsakov’s orchestral genius shines through in his colorful operatic suites, and that from his final opera Le Coq d’or is richly dramatic. The folk-based story of the Snow Maiden is simplified into four enchanting movements, and that of Sadko into a tone-poem. The legend of Mlada is represented by vivid dances.

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      Rating: 4.0/5 (5 votes cast)

      January 22, 2012

      Lumbye: Copenhagen Steam Railway Galop (3:53)
      Josef Strauss: Fireproof Polka (3:15) (with Vienna Boys’ Choir)
      Eduard Strauss: Carmen Quadrille (5:27)
      Tchaikovsky: Sleeping Beauty: Panorama (2:22); Waltz (4:48)
      Johann Strauss, Jr. & Josef Strauss: Pizzicato Polka (2:43)

      The annual New Year’s Day Concert in Vienna has been a tradition for more than seven decades, and the resulting recordings are among the classical world’s most important releases. In 2012, the program is once again a skillful blend of well-known classics and works that are rarely heard.

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      Brahms: Clarinet Trio in A minor, Op 114 (24:20)

      “Clarinet Trios” includes two of the most popular works from the clarinet chamber music repertoire: Beethoven’s Trio, Op 11, and Brahms’ Trio, Op 114. The three musicians also perform selections from the romantic Eight Pieces by Max Bruch.

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      Rating: 5.0/5 (1 vote cast)

      Schwantner: …and the mountains rising nowhere (12:43)

      “Rising” is the fourth album by the talented Northwestern University Symphonic Wind Ensemble under the direction of Mallory Thompson. Four American composers are represented: Aaron Copland, Joseph Schwantner, Eric Whitacre and David Maslanka.

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      Rating: 5.0/5 (2 votes cast)

      Ravel: Sonata for Violin & Piano (17:05)

      Joshua Bell’s first sonata program for Sony Classical features the violinist and his longtime friend and recital partner, pianist Jeremy Denk, offering nuanced interpretations of works by Saint-Saëns, Ravel and Franck.

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      Rating: 4.0/5 (1 vote cast)