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      Archive for July, 2015

      July 26, 2015

      Fritz: Symphony in B-flat major, Op 6 No 1 (21:48)

      Kesselberg Ensemble

      Gaspard Fritz (1716-1783) was born and died in Geneva. During his lifetime, he was considered an important composer and violin pedagogue. His music, at the threshold between the Baroque and the early Classical period, is characterized by beautiful melodic writing, virtuosity, depth and diversity. Fritz’s Op 6 symphonies were published in Paris in the early 1770s.

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      Rating: 3.5/5 (4 votes cast)

      Mendelssohn: Songs without Words, Op 30 (17:40)

      Christoph Eschenbach, piano

      Conductor Christoph Eschenbach began his international career as a pianist with a range of recordings on Deutsche Grammophon, including Beethoven, Mozart and chamber music. This box set highlights his zeal for Romantic repertoire and features the complete Mendelssohn Songs without Words cycle, recorded in 1975 and previously available only in Japan.

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      Rating: 4.7/5 (3 votes cast)

      Saint-Saëns: Piano Concerto No 2 in G minor, Op 22 (23:50)

      Vadym Kholodenko, piano; Norwegian Radio Orchestra / Miguel Harth-Bedoya

      2013 Van Cliburn Competition Gold Medalist Vadym Kholodenko is the featured piano soloist in this recording of the Grieg Concerto in A minor and the Saint-Saëns Concerto No 2 with the Norwegian Radio Orchestra under the baton of Miguel Harth-Bedoya. “Kholodenko matches his impressive keyboard prowess with probing emotional depth and daring individuality.” (San Diego Story)

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      Rating: 4.2/5 (5 votes cast)

      Anonymous: Maiden in the mor lay (5:01); Ye have so longe kepe schepe (4:22); Wyth ryth al my herte (4:29)

      Dufay Collective & Voice / William Lyons

      During the 14th and 15th centuries, England witnessed an explosion of written poetic output in the vernacular, the lyrics of which were intimately bound to music. Sadly, only a handful of poems have survived intact. In the spirit of reconstruction, the Dufay Collective joins forces with Voice to perform extant songs and instrumental adaptations, as well as poetry set to adapted/original melodies by director William Lyons.

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      Rating: 4.2/5 (5 votes cast)

      Shostakovich: Symphony No 10 in E minor, Op 93: III, Allegretto (12:44); IV, Andante – Allegro (13:54)

      Boston Symphony Orchestra / Andris Nelsons

      The Boston Symphony Orchestra and Deutsche Grammophon have launched a new partnership that will feature a series of live recordings under the direction of BSO Music Director Andris NelsonsThe initiative begins with a project entitled ‘Shostakovich: Under Stalin’s Shadow,’ focusing on works composed during the period of Shostakovich’s difficult relationship with Stalin and the Soviet regime. The first album features the Passacaglia from the opera Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk and Symphony No 10.

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      Rating: 3.5/5 (4 votes cast)

      July 19, 2015

      Debussy: Arabesque No 1 (4:17); Estampes: Pagodes (5:55); Les soirs illuminés par l’ardeur du charbon (2:34)

      Michael Lewin, piano

      ‘Starry Night’ is Michael Lewin’s fourth studio recording for Sono Luminus, providing the companion disc to his critically-praised ‘Beau Soir.’ A Julliard School graduate and a Steinway Artist, Lewin was a student of Leon Fleisher. Debussy is one of his favorite composers — he studied the piano music with the legendary French pianist Yvonne Lefébure, who had played it for the composer. They worked together in Debussy’s hometown of St-Germain-en-Laye, in the same Conservatoire where he had studied as a boy, during the last summers of her life.

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      Rating: 2.3/5 (3 votes cast)

      Dvořák: Symphony No 5 in F major, Op 76 (39:42)

      Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra / José Serebrier

      One of the most recorded conductors of his generation, José Serebrier completes his survey of Dvořák’s symphonies, adding Nos. 1, 4 and 5 to a series of Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra performances that have been praised for their expressivity, remarkable handling of detail and supreme orchestral balance. The works are accompanied by a variety of other concert pieces, including the lively Slavonic Dances as well as the wonderfully lyrical Legends, miniature tone poems which reveal the Czech composer’s mastery of the shortest forms.

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      Rating: 4.0/5 (1 vote cast)

      Michael Praetorius: Nigra sum sed formosa (3:24)
      Hieronymus Praetorius: Tota pulchra es (6:24)

      Balthasar Neumann Chorus & Ensemble / Pablo Heras-Casado

      This album highlights early 17th-century works by Jacob, Hieronymus and Michael Praetorius; the latter is considered one of the most significant German composers of the era. Pablo Heras-Casado first established an interest in the repertoire as a young conductor, researching music in the Spanish National Library: “When I was nineteen, I was keen to prepare some concerts that would include Protestant music from the period before Bach, an important period in European musical history. Since then I have been fascinated by this repertory.”

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      Rating: 4.7/5 (3 votes cast)

      Handel: Fugue in B-flat major (2:34)
      Scarlatti: Sonata in D minor, K 417 (3:42)
      Froberger: Canzona No 2 in G minor (5:31)

      Alan Feinberg, piano

      ‘Fugue State’ features music of two generations of composers from the era of the High Baroque. While the composers each have unique and intriguingly personal styles, they share a compelling range of compositional techniques and musical ideas. They influenced each other in ways rarely presented in the piano world. This recording features some of the links and musical cross-pollination of these composers. And while fugues are generally not designed to surrender their secrets easily, there are many connections to be enjoyed by the avid listener.– Alan Feinberg

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      Rating: 4.3/5 (3 votes cast)

      Mozart, arr Lachner: Piano Concerto No 21 in C major, K 467: I, Allegro maestoso (13:57)

      Alon Goldstein, piano; Fine Arts Quartet; Rachel Calin, double bass

      To make Mozart’s Piano Concertos K 466 and K 467 more accessible to the public, the 19th-century composer Ignaz Lachner left the piano parts untouched and made splendid transcriptions of the orchestra parts for string quartet with added bass. These chamber versions of two of Mozart’s greatest and most popular concertos sound almost as natural as if Mozart had transcribed them himself.

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      Rating: 4.9/5 (36 votes cast)