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      Archive for September, 2012

      September 30, 2012

      Mozart: Symphony #40 in G minor, K 550 (30:29)

      Music of the Baroque Orchestra / Jane Glover

      Under the direction of internationally acclaimed British conductor Jane Glover, Music of the Baroque occupies a special place in the rich cultural life of Chicago. Long recognized as one of the area’s top classical groups, the ensemble focuses on 18th century works for chorus and orchestra. The ensemble’s latest recording features Mozart’s last two symphonies from performances in May 2011.

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      Rating: 4.8/5 (5 votes cast)

      Chopin: Four Mazurkas, Op 33 (10:56)

      Russell Sherman, piano

      Combining elegance and virtuosity, pianist Russell Sherman presents a traversal of Chopin’s Mazurkas, a popular 19th-century genre among Polish composers, but one that Chopin made his own. He wrote mazurkas throughout his lifetime, from his early days in his native Warsaw until 1849, the year of his death in Paris. He brought numerous innovations to the dance form, evolving its humble folk origins to more contemporary art music.

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      Rating: 2.3/5 (3 votes cast)

      Górecki: Pieśni Maryjne (Five Marian Songs), Op 54: III, IV, V (12:40)

      Los Angeles Master Chorale / Grant Gershon

      The Los Angeles Master Chorale’s new album is a tribute to the life and work of Henryk Górecki, known to millions for his Symphony of Sorrowful Songs and as a champion of Poland’s struggle for independence from Soviet control. Miserere showcases the extraordinary power of the full 110-voice Chorale singing unaccompanied. Also featured on this release are the first major label recordings of both Five Marian Songs and Lobgesang.

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      Rating: 4.2/5 (6 votes cast)

      Nielsen: Symphony #2, Op 16, The Four Temperaments (35:08)

      New York Philharmonic / Alan Gilbert

      “Music is life, and like life itself, music is inextinguishable,” said the Danish composer Carl Nielsen. His indomitable courage and infinite curiosity helped Nielsen develop into one of the greatest symphonists of the 20th century. With this new series of recordings, Nielsen crosses the Atlantic, as the New York Philharmonic and their music director Alan Gilbert shed new light on his unique symphonic sound.

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      Rating: 4.5/5 (12 votes cast)

      Wagner: Die Walküre: Siegmund’s Spring Song & Love Duet (14:14)

      Eva-Maria Westbroek, soprano; Jonas Kaufmann, tenor; Metropolitan Opera Orchestra / James Levine

      Wagner’s Ring Cycle presents the ultimate challenge for any opera company, and the Metropolitan Opera’s new production of Der Ring des Nibelungen, unveiled between 2010 and 2012 and starring some of the greatest Wagnerian singers of today, is among the most ambitious stagings ever mounted. This 2-CD compilation features highlights from all four operas.

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      Rating: 5.0/5 (3 votes cast)

      September 23, 2012

      Berlioz: Overture, Le corsaire, Op 21 (8:06)

      Lyon National Orchestra / Leonard Slatkin

      A spirited Le corsaire leads off this new Berlioz collection from the Lyon National Orchestra and its recently appointed music director, Leonard Slatkin. The main work is the Symphonie fantastique, and Slatkin includes the composer’s alternative version of the second movement with a cornet solo.

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      Rating: 3.3/5 (6 votes cast)

      Rameau: Harpsichord Suite in E minor: Excerpts (13:03)

      Jory Vinikour, harpsichord

      Rameau’s output as a composer for solo harpsichord must be considered among the most important in French 18th-century keyboard repertoire, along with that of François Couperin. The musical and harmonic ingenuity demonstrated throughout these works, as well as Rameau’s uniquely idiomatic approach to the harpsichord, ensure these works a permanent place in the repertoire of all harpsichordists.

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      Rating: 4.3/5 (4 votes cast)

      Scarlatti: La Dirindina, Part II (14:24)

      Jamie Barton, mezzo-soprano; Joseph Gaines, tenor; Brian Shircliffe, baritone; Ars Lyrica Houston / Matthew Dirst

      Ars Lyrica Houston offers a broad range of music from the 17th and 18th centuries on period instruments. Founded in 1998 by harpsichordist and conductor Matthew Dirst, this Grammy–nominated ensemble favors little-known dramatic and chamber works that merit revival. Their latest release features a rarely heard musical farce by Domenico Scarlatti.

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      Rating: 4.2/5 (6 votes cast)

      Field: Nocturne #4 in A major (5:21)
      Chopin: Nocturne in C-sharp minor, Op 27, #1 (5:24)
      Respighi: Sei pezzi: Notturno (4:25)

      Michael Landrum, piano

      The nocturne has long been a topic of interest to Michael Landrum. He has had the opportunity to share his insights into this ever-evolving repertoire on many occasions throughout the country. This two-disc set brings together a plethora of composers’ works that enliven the nocturne genre of music.

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      Rating: 4.5/5 (6 votes cast)

      Beethoven: Piano Concerto #1 in C major, Op 15 (32:44)

      Mahler Chamber Orchestra / Leif Ove Andsnes, piano

      Celebrated Norwegian pianist Leif Ove Andsnes begins “The Beethoven Journey” with live performances of Piano Concertos Nos. 1 & 3 at the Prague Spring Festival with the Mahler Chamber Orchestra. For the next four seasons, Andsnes will devote the majority of his performing and recording schedules to the music of Beethoven with a commitment to record all five piano concertos.

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      Rating: 5.0/5 (4 votes cast)