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      Archive for February, 2014

      February 23, 2014

      Catalani: Il Mattino ‘Sinfonia romantica’ (14:44)

      Rome Symphony Orchestra / Francesco La Vecchia

      Alfredo Catalani is best known today for his opera La Wally, but he also experimented with a number of orchestral works, including three symphonies. Ero e Leandro, Catalani’s last orchestral work, evokes the dramatic tragedy of the Greek mythological lovers Hero and Leander. The brief Scherzo is a sparkling piece while the Andantino is noteworthy for its fluid melodic line. The lyricism of Contemplazione contrasts with Il Mattino, a single-movement symphony divided into several clearly distinguishable sections.

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      Rating: 4.6/5 (5 votes cast)

      Bertali: Two-Violin Sonata in G (8:25)

      Acronym

      Antonio Bertali was born in 1605 in Verona. In 1624 he moved to Vienna, where he was hired as a violinist and composer at the Habsburg Court. King Ferdinand III appointed Bertali Kappellmeister, a post which he held until his death in 1669. Bertali was a prolific composer of both sacred and secular music, ranging from oratorios and operas to instrumental sonatas, but few of his works were published and almost none survive. Nearly all of Bertali’s extant instrumental compositions (including twelve of the thirteen found in this recording) come from manuscript copies now located in libraries.

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      Rating: 4.3/5 (9 votes cast)

      Porpora: Semiramide: Come nave in ria tempesta (5:14); Polifemo: Placidetti zefiretti (2:53) (with Cecilia Bartoli)

      Philippe Jaroussky, countertenor; Venice Baroque Orchestra / Andrea Marcon

      Philippe Jaroussky’s new album features opera arias written for the most famous castrato of all, Farinelli. The composer Nicola Porpora was Farinelli’s mentor and teacher, and despite a lesser-known status in modern times was a celebrated composer in his day, writing over 50 operas. This recording highlights 11 of his finest arias – 9 of which are appearing for the first time on CD – including 2 duets with famed mezzo-soprano Cecilia Bartoli.

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      Rating: 4.5/5 (8 votes cast)

      Vivaldi: String Concerto in B-flat major, R 166 (5:45)

      Concerto Italiano / Rinaldo Alessandrini

      The concertos for strings are a very special genre in Vivaldi’s output. Contrary to the concertos for solo instruments, those offer a real balance and amazing range of colors between all the intruments concerned. Following a successful first volume, released in 2004, Rinaldo Alessandrini and Concerto Italiano offer a new milestone recording in Vivaldi’s instrumental music, full of colors and refinement.

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      Rating: 4.5/5 (4 votes cast)

      Czerny: Etude No 31 in A minor (1:14); Etude No 4 in B-flat major (2:18); Etude No 12 in D minor (1:35)
      Chopin: Scherzo No 1 in B minor, Op 20 (8:29)

      Dmitry Paperno, piano

      Cedille Records’ inaugural artist, Dmitry Paperno, a major Soviet-era pianist and one of the “last living musical giants” (Bloomsbury Review) of a golden age of Russian concert artists, is heard on this comprehensive retrospective playlist in honor of this 85th birthday. The first ten tracks, comprising works by Scarlatti, Czerny and Moszkowki, were formerly owned by Moscow Radio and have never before been released in the West. The remaining tracks come from each of his 7 Cedille CDs, released between 1989 and 2004.

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      Rating: 4.0/5 (4 votes cast)

      Beethoven: Piano Concerto No 3 in C minor, Op 37 (35:03)

      Vienna Philharmonic / Rudolf Buchbinder, piano

      This 3-CD set features Rudolf Buchbinder as both soloist and conductor with the Vienna Philharmonic and is a live recording of concerts held in May 2011 at the Golden Hall of the Vienna Musikverein. The performance was also released as a 2-DVD set in 2012. Buchbinder’s interpretations of Beethoven have been described as “channeling the music from some cosmic beyond” by The New York Times.

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      Rating: 3.0/5 (3 votes cast)

      Beethoven: Missa Solemnis, Op 123: Gloria (15:32)

      Lucy Crowe, soprano; Jennifer Johnson, mezzo-soprano; James Gilchrist, tenor; Matthew Rose, bass; Monteverdi Choir & Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique / John Eliot Gardiner

      In 2011, John Eliot Gardiner and the Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique toured the United States, returning to the repertoire of Beethoven for the first time since their acclaimed symphony recordings of the early ’90s. Their tour culminated in the CD release of his 5th and 7th symphonies. This recording of Missa Solemnis – recorded live at the Barbican during a sold-out tour of Europe and the United States – continues their in-depth exploration of Beethoven’s repertoire.

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      Rating: 4.6/5 (5 votes cast)

      February 16, 2014

      Barber: String Quartet in B minor, Op 11 (19:38)

      Brodsky Quartet

      The Brodsky Quartet presents a program of works from the ‘New World’ that explores an American sound in the string quartet. The earliest piece on the disc is the ‘American’ String Quartet by Antonín Dvořák, the only non-American composer in the release. In the String Quartet by Samuel Barber, we hear an unashamedly romantic composer displaying a more European style. Far more distinctively American in idiom is the music of George Gershwin whose Lullaby was his first attempt at classical composition. The program is completed with short works by Copland and Brubeck.

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      Rating: 4.5/5 (2 votes cast)

      Mozart: Violin Concerto No 4 in D major, K 218 (23:48)

      Ray Chen, violin; Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival Orchestra / Christoph Eschenbach

      This disc is violinist Ray Chen’s first album of all Mozart repertoire. He is joined by renowned Mozart interpreter Maestro Christoph Eschenbach, who not only conducts the Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival Orchestra for the concertos, but also accompanies Chen on the piano for the Violin Sonata in A, K 305. For both of the concertos, Chen composed his own cadenzas.

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      Rating: 3.5/5 (6 votes cast)

      Korngold: Die tote Stadt: Tanzlied des Pierrot (3:07)
      Goldmark: Romance in A major, Op 51 (4:06)

      Orsolya Korcsolan, violin; Emese Mali, piano

      “When I began planning this CD I knew that the music of these three ‘Golds’ would fit together perfectly. Erich Wolfgang Korngold and Carl Goldmark have long been favorites of mine. Rubin Goldmark I discovered later while living in New York and I feel very privileged to be making the first ever recording of his wonderful piece ‘Plaintive Air.’ All three of these extraordinary composers in one way or another changed the musical landscape of their time.” (Orsolya Korcsolan)

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      Rating: 4.7/5 (7 votes cast)