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      Archive for September, 2015

      September 27, 2015

      Vivaldi: The Four Seasons: Violin Concerto in F major, R 293, Autumn (12:08)

      La Serenissima / Adrian Chandler, violin

      Even more popular today than when they were first published, the concertos that make up The Four Seasons are highly evocative works whose dramatic language continues to capture the attention of audiences around the world. The award-winning period-instrument ensemble and noted Vivaldi specialists La Serenissima use characterization as their key, offering highly accomplished performances of these works in addition to four concertos for bassoon and the little-known violin in tromba marina.

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      Rating: 3.9/5 (11 votes cast)

      Palestrina: Super flumina Babylonis (3:07)
      Allegri: Miserere (10:12)

      Sistine Chapel Choir / Massimo Palombella

      Deutsche Grammophon presents, by kind permission of the Vatican, the first studio album ever to be recorded in the Sistine Chapel. “Cantate Domino” opens the door to some of the world’s most beautiful choral music, as well as into one of the most treasured sacred locations on earth. The album features music written for Popes across the centuries, including previously unpublished works and editions by Palestrina, Allegri and Victoria.

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      Rating: 4.3/5 (8 votes cast)

      Schultz: Une Amourette (Little Serenade for Winds) (10:41)

      Carion Wind Quintet

      As a Danish ensemble, Carl Nielsen’s woodwind quintet has a special place in the repertoire of the Carion Quintet. Their new recording of the work celebrates Nielsen’s 150th birthday in 2015. The remaining works on the disc stem from his musical legacy. The group discovered 30 unknown pieces by Danish composers from the same era, many of them featuring a similar style of wind writing. Carion selected the most interesting works for the album.

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      Rating: 3.3/5 (6 votes cast)

      Schumann: Piano Concerto in A minor, Op 54: I, Allegro affetuoso (14:42)

      Alexander Melnikov, fortepiano; Freiburg Baroque Orchestra / Pablo Heras-Casado

      On the second volume in Harmonia Mundi’s series of complete recordings of Schumann’s concertos and trios, pianist Alexander Melnikov gives us an interpretation of the composer’s evergreen Piano Concerto on an 1837 Erard fortepiano. Pablo Heras-Casado guides the Freiburg Baroque Orchestra through a fresh approach, uncovering music as poetic as it is moving. To complete the program, Melnikov is joined by violinist Isabelle Faust and cellist Jean-Guihen Queyras in an inspired performance of the Piano Trio No 2.

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      Rating: 2.8/5 (6 votes cast)

      Beethoven: Adelaide, Op 46 (5:29); Bagatelle, Op 126 No 5 (2:26)

      Werner Güra, tenor; Christoph Berner, fortepiano

      Beethoven as a giant of the symphony and the sonata has somewhat overshadowed Beethoven as a creator of songs. On this varied and insightful recording, tenor Werner Güra performs a program featuring the first song cycle in history, An die ferne Geliebte, that proves Beethoven’s lieder lacked neither appeal nor originality. Accompanist Christoph Berner plays a Streicher fortepiano of 1847 that is perfectly suited to both the songs and to his solo performance of the Bagatelles of Op 126.

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      Rating: 4.0/5 (6 votes cast)

      Bernstein: Serenade (after Plato’s Symposium) (29:28)

      Anne Akiko Meyers, violin; London Symphony Orchestra / Keith Lockhart

      Violinist Anne Akiko Meyers explores and celebrates the facets of love with a new album of works for violin and orchestra. The recording features Bernstein’s Serenade and ten world premieres. Serenade is based on a reading of Plato’s Symposium, in which seven ancient Greek philosophers debate the meaning of love. Meyers is a champion of living composers and commissioned seven renowned composer-arrangers to create ten works for violin and orchestra from love-inspired music from stage and film.

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      Rating: 4.7/5 (14 votes cast)

      Bernstein: West Side Story: I Feel Pretty (1:24); Maria (2:03); America (1:56)
      Bonfá: Passeio no Rio (3:17)
      Lara: Granada (5:11)

      Pablo Villegas, guitar

      The guitar was brought by the Spaniards to the New World during the colonial period. The guitar absorbed and merged with indigenous instruments and was assimilated into the musical fabric of a wide geographical area. More than any other instrument, it defines the common musical heartbeat of the Americas. On this musical journey, rising Spanish star, Pablo Villegas combines the emotions of Brazilian music, the nostalgic tango, Venezuelan rhythms, and American bluegrass.

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      Rating: 4.3/5 (7 votes cast)

      September 20, 2015

      Haydn: Symphony No 67 in F major (24:18)

      Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra / Nicholas McGegan

      The San Francisco-area based Philharmonia Baroque is one of America’s leading period instrument ensembles. Under its director Nicholas McGegan, they’ve released several recordings on their own label. Following a Grammy-nominated album of later Haydn symphonies, the orchestra now explores three works that come from a period in which Haydn was eagerly exploring the possibilities of symphonic form and expression, writing for his patron Prince Nikolaus Esterházy.

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      Rating: 3.5/5 (4 votes cast)

      Pärt: Da Pacem Domine (4:57)
      Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir, Tallinn Chamber Orchestra / Tōnu Kaljuste

      Pärt: Festina Lente (5:29)
      Bonn Beethovenhalle Orchestra / Dennis Russell Davies

      Estonian composer Arvo Pärt celebrated his 80th birthday on September 11th. For the occasion, ECM released this special double album, ‘Musica Selecta.’ Pärt and producer Manfred Eicher have maintained a friendship and creative partnership for more than thirty years. Eicher launched ECM New Series in 1984 as a platform for Pärt’s music. Since then, all first recordings of Pärt’s major works have been made for ECM. In ‘Musica Selecta,’ Eicher revisits episodes from their shared musical quest.

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      Rating: 3.8/5 (6 votes cast)

      Bach/Gounod: Ave Maria (2:43)
      Brahms: Lullaby (1:50)
      Dvořák: Songs My Mother Taught Me (1:57)
      Fauré: Papillon (2:49)
      Gade: Tango Jalousie (3:42)

      Yo-Yo Ma, cello; Kathryn Stott, piano

      Longtime friends cellist Yo-Yo Ma and pianist Kathryn Stott offer pieces they have frequently performed but never recorded, as well as a handful of discoveries. ‘Songs from the Arc of Life’ begins and ends with two, much-beloved settings of the traditional Ave Maria. In between is a remarkable spectrum of music that includes favorites by Brahms, Elgar, Saint-Saëns, Debussy and many others. Ma and Stott also perform a haunting piece by the contemporary composer Giovanni Sollima, a friend and colleague of both artists.

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      Rating: 3.0/5 (9 votes cast)