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      Archive for December, 2015

      December 27, 2015

      Steibelt: Piano Concerto No 7 in E minor, Grand concerto militaire (24:51)

      Ulster Orchestra / Howard Shelley, piano

      Howard Shelley and the Ulster Orchestra return for a second volume in Hyperion’s new Classical Piano Concerto series. Daniel Steibelt—the man who dared to challenge Beethoven and lost—ruled the keyboards of northern Europe for a quarter of a century, his own concertos as sensationally popular as their composer was ostentatious.

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      Rating: 3.0/5 (4 votes cast)

      Bruch: Violin Concerto No 1 in G minor, Op 26 (25:25)

      Jack Liebeck, violin; BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra / Martyn Brabbins

      Award-winning British violinist Jack Liebeck brings his formidable technique to the second of three albums of music by Max Bruch. The centerpiece is the Violin Concerto No 1 in G minor, which comes at or near the top of listeners’ polls as the most popular violin concerto. Liebeck also performs two rarities from Bruch – Serenade in A minor and Romance in A minor.

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      Rating: 2.7/5 (3 votes cast)

      Telemann: Wassermusik, Hamburger Ebb und Fluth (22:16)

      Le Concert des Nations / Jordi Savall

      The music on this double album explores the forces of nature, as vividly depicted by composers in the 17th and 18th centuries. Jordi Savall’s first recording of Jean-Fery Rebel’s Les Éléments displays his unmatched vision of the Baroque orchestral repertoire. This classic recording is paired with brand new performances of similarly programmatic works by Locke, Vivaldi, Marais, Telemann and Rameau.

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      Rating: 2.7/5 (3 votes cast)

      Vivaldi: O qui coeli terraeque serenitas, R 631 (10:44)

      Claire de Sévigné, soprano; Aradia Ensemble / Kevin Mallon

      In Vivaldi’s astonishing worklist there are numerous sacred choral pieces and around forty cantatas. Much of this music was written for the soloists and choir at the girls’ orphanage in Venice where he worked and taught. The motets and psalm settings in this volume, despite being religious works intended for performance during Mass, are often strikingly operatic.

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      Rating: 2.3/5 (3 votes cast)

      Chopin: Piano Sonata No 2 in B-flat minor, Op 35 (20:46)

      Seong-Jin Cho, piano

      Deutsche Grammophon presents the debut solo album from Seong-Jin Cho, winner of the 17th International Chopin Piano Competition. Cho took the coveted first prize, among the most prestigious titles in the world of classical music. He was named the winner on October 20, 2015, following three weeks and three stages of competition in Warsaw. The recording contains highlights from the 21-year-old South Korean pianist’s recital rounds.

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      Rating: 5.0/5 (5 votes cast)

      December 20, 2015

      Traditional: Adeste fideles (2:08)
      Neuner: Fröhliche Weihnacht überall (2:44)
      Traditional: The First Nowell (2:53)

      Vienna Boys Choir; Schubert Academy Orchestra

      The Vienna Boys Choir, the oldest boys’ choir in the world, is one of Austria’s most famous cultural exports. Having recorded and toured the world extensively for decades, they are recognized for the purity of their sound and the joy of their music making. For this new holiday album, guest artists Aida Garifullina and Rolando Villazón join the choir for an eclectic selection of holiday favorites.

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      Rating: 3.7/5 (3 votes cast)

      Gruber, arr. Getty: Silent Night (3:42)
      Adamo: The Christmas Life (3:12)

      Volti Chorus; New Century Chamber Orchestra / Dawn Harms

      Over the centuries a great deal of music has marked the holiday season, but very little has been added to the canon in recent decades. Gordon Getty inspired the artists with his composition of delightful new Christmas carols to invite a group of American composers to celebrate the season in music. The resulting album features the work of Mark Adamo, Jake Heggie, Joan Morris and William Bolcom, David Garner, Luna Pearl Woolf and John Corigliano.

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      Rating: 4.0/5 (3 votes cast)

      Traditional: 16th-century Czech Folk Songs (9:06)

      Ensemble Caprice / Matthias Maute

      In the 17th and 18th centuries, the chaconne was generally indistinguishable from the passacaglia, the two musical forms being so similar in nature. In both, the repetition of a single harmonic motif evoked a sense of time stretching far beyond the limits of our physical world. This recording collects some of the most beautiful examples from the literally hundreds of such pieces composed during the Baroque period.

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      Rating: 4.0/5 (3 votes cast)

      Traditional: Zither Carol (2:54); Unto Us is Born a Son (2:21); Infant Holy, Infant Lowly (2:45)

      Michala Petri, recorder; Danish National Vocal Ensemble / Michael Bojesen

      Composer and arranger Michael Bojesen has selected hymns and carols from across the centuries and around the world, adding a touch of festive joy with the soaring descants of Michala Petri’s recorder. From timeless favorites like It Came Upon the Midnight Clear and O Come, O Come, Emmanuel to less-familiar carols from other lands, Bojesen’s arrangements of these beloved melodies will lift your spirit.

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      Rating: 4.8/5 (4 votes cast)

      Mozart: Variations on Lison dormait in C major, K 264 (16:23)

      Kristian Bezuidenhout, fortepiano

      Fortepianist Kristian Bezuidenhout continues his multi-disc survey of Mozart’s music for solo keyboard with volume seven of the series. The first six have been met with universal critical acclaim from around the world. Bezuidenhout performs two works influenced by the composer’s 1778 stay in Paris — the grandly proportioned Sonata in A minor, K 310, and the dazzling Variations on Lison dormait, K 264.

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      Rating: 5.0/5 (3 votes cast)