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      Archive for September, 2014

      September 28, 2014

      Haydn: String Quartet in D minor, Op 42 (16:10)

      Leipzig String Quartet

      Founded in 1988, the Leipzig String Quartet is now widely acclaimed as one of the most exciting quartets on the international music scene. They’ve made almost 800 recordings from Mozart to Cage and the complete works of Beethoven, Brahms, Mozart, Mendelssohn and Schubert. This release is the latest installment in the group’s series of Haydn’s quartets.

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      Rating: 3.0/5 (1 vote cast)

      Satie: Gymnopédie No 3 (2:32)
      Ravel: Piano Concerto in G: II, Adagio assai (8:21)

      Alison Balsom, trumpet; Orchestra / Guy Barker

      Alison Balsom brings a new selection of music written in and inspired by Paris. “The concept developed organically the more I looked for music that I loved, that could work in this sound world,” she explains. “I spent a key part of my musical life in Paris at the Conservatoire, and whilst this album is anything but a stereotype of a ‘Parisian’ sound, every track has a link to the world of Paris. I should admit though, that on the first day of recording even the musicians asked if we were making two separate albums, the pile of music on their stands being so wildly diverse and unexpected.”

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      Rating: 4.7/5 (3 votes cast)

      Ravel: La valse (12:04)

      Alice Sara Ott & Francesco Tristano, pianos

      Individually, Alice Sara Ott and Francesco Tristano are two of their generation’s outstanding young artists. For ‘Scandale,’ they combine their talents to play piano transcriptions from dance-inspired orchestral showpieces of the 20th century, all commissioned by Serge Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes. The program also features a world-premiere recording of a new composition by Tristano himself.

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      Rating: 2.5/5 (2 votes cast)

      Mascagni: Cavalleria rusticana: Easter Hymn (5:56)

      Elīna Garanča, mezzo-soprano; Latvian Radio Choir, German Radio Philharmonic Saarbrücken / Karel Mark Chichon

      Elīna Garanča presents a collection of spiritual works connecting the listener with her Latvian roots. Garanča’s parents were involved with choral music; she grew up listening to this music and sang in choirs as a young musician. The work of two Latvian composers is featured along with an a cappella arrangement of Allegri’s Miserere created especially for this recording. A Latvian choir adds its own unique flavor. Also on hand is Garanča’s husband, con
      ductor Karel Mark Chichon.

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      Rating: 4.5/5 (2 votes cast)

      Bruckner: Symphony No 9 in D minor: I, Feierlich, misterioso (26:47)

      Lucerne Festival Orchestra / Claudio Abbado

      In January 2014, music lovers worldwide were saddened to learn that Claudio Abbado had passed away. Deutsche Grammophon has released his final concert from the Lucerne Festival in August 2013, featuring Bruckner’s Symphony No 9. “Mr Abbado led an otherworldly account of Bruckner’s 9th Symphony. Never have I heard as magisterial and moving performance of the work as that given by the 80-year-old maestro and his fabulous Lucerne Festival Orchestra.” (Wall Street Journal)

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      Rating: 4.8/5 (5 votes cast)

      Harbison: Songs America Loves to Sing: Excerpts (14:00)

      Camerata Pacifica

      One of the most wide-ranging American composers of our time, John Harbison has an abiding interest in American jazz, folksong, and hymns, and this new release includes his collection of solos and canons Songs America Loves to Sing (2004) alongside Four Songs of Solitude (1985) for solo violin. The album’s centerpiece is the world premiere recording of Harbison’s String Trio (2013) – the first he has ever composed – commissioned and performed by members of Camerata Pacifica under the leadership of Adrian Spence.

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      Rating: 3.5/5 (2 votes cast)

      Copland: Lincoln Portrait (14:59)

      Maya Angelou, narrator; Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra / Louis Langrée

      In conceiving his inaugural season as Music Director of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, Louis Langrée wanted to celebrate the orchestra’s legacy of introducing the world to new works. One of the pieces selected for his first performances in November 2013, and captured live for this release, was Aaron Copland’s Lincoln Portrait, which received its world premiere by the CSO in 1942. November of 2013 marked the 150th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address, and those powerful words were delivered by author, poet, activist and humanitarian Maya Angelou.

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      Rating: 4.9/5 (9 votes cast)

      September 21, 2014

      Kraus: Äfventyraren: Overture (10:30)

      Helsinki Baroque Orchestra / Aapo Häkkinen

      Joseph Martin Kraus (1756-1792) was one of the most talented and progressive composers of the 18th century, and regarded by Haydn as one of the only two geniuses he knew, alongside Mozart. Following the successful audition of his opera Proserpin, Kraus became closely associated with the court of Gustav III in Stockholm. The vocal pieces include works performed for the first time in over two centuries, ranging from Italian concert arias to rare works from the Royal Dramatic Theatre.

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      Rating: 4.3/5 (3 votes cast)

      Senfl: Quis dabit oculis (7:00)

      Stile Antico

      The vocal ensemble Stile Antico presents a program that captures triumphs and tragedies from the Imperial courts of the Hapsburgs. The remarkable Hapsburg dynasty, which at its peak ruled much of Europe and established the first truly global empire, is the inspiration for a fascinating journey through two centuries of Continental repertoire. Stile Antico focus first on the Emperor Maximilian, and then on the great Spanish rulers Charles V and Philip II, who gathered around them the finest Spanish and Flemish composer of their day.

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      Rating: 5.0/5 (4 votes cast)

      Vierne: Pièces de fantaisie, Op 51: Prelude (3:35); Caprice (3:24); Intermezzo (2:25)

      Jan Kraybill, organ

      This program of French masterworks was designed to showcase all the colors and nuances of the organ at the new Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts in Kansas City. These brilliant performances come from the organist who knows the instrument best, Jan Kraybill. She regularly plays and oversees the care of the three largest pipe organs in the Kansas City metro area. At the Kauffman Center, she performs and guest hosts organists in both solo and collaborative musical events.

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      Rating: 4.8/5 (4 votes cast)