Friday, February 6, 2009
What's Opened on 2/6/2009
Maurice Durufle: "Requiem, etc." - Choir of Magdalen College, Oxford; English Sinfonia; Bill Ives, dir. Maurice Durufle was a modest and self-critical composer who, much like his teacher Paul Dukas, published only a handful of works, but what a handful. The jewel is his Requiem, a gently consoling work that reflects his Catholic faith and his love for Gregorian Chant. This disc also contains the Mass "Cum Jubilo," and "Quatre Motets sur des themes gregoriens" (Four Motets on Gregorian Chants) plus a few of his solo organ compositions. (harmonia mundi # 093046748067)
Robert Schumann: "The Violin Sonatas" - Carolin Widmann, violin; Denes Varjon, piano. Schumann's violin sonatas come from the last period of his life, when his mental grip on reality was tenuous at best. Widmann and Varjon play to the wildness and adventure inherent in these pieces, in a typically well-crafted and recorded disc from ECM New Series. (ECM New Series # 2047/476 6744)
"Oboe d'amore Concertos by J.S. Bach and Telemann" - Thomas Stacy, oboe d'amore; Toronto Chamber Orchestra; Kevin Mallon. The oboe d'amore, sort of a smaller sibling to the English horn, has a distinctive sound, used by Bach to great effect in his "Mass in b minor" and "St Matthew Passion." Here Thomas Stacy plays Bach's concertos BWV 1055 and 1053, along with two concerti by Telemann (Naxos # 8.570735)
Aaron Copland: "Dance Symphony; Symphony No. 1; Short Symphony" - Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra; Marin Alsop, cond. Although not as well-known as his Symphony No. 3, these earlier symphonic works by Copland are worth a listen. The "Dance Symphony" is based on the early ballet "Grohg," based on the 1921 vampire film "Nosferatu;" "Symphony No. 1" is an arrangement of the "Organ Symphony" - minus the organ; and the "Short Symphony" (or Symphony No. 2) may be one of his best works and was one of the composer's favorites. (Naxos #8.559359)
Edvard Grieg: "Peer Gynt (Complete Incidental Music) - Soloists; Malmo Chamber Choir; Malmo Symphony Orchestra; Bjarte Engeset, cond. Some great new recordings of the music of Edvard Grieg have come our way from Naxos, and this is the latest: the absolutely complete recording of all the incidental music Grieg composed for Ibsen's stage play of "Peer Gynt." The two concert suites, Grieg's best-known works, contained orchestral selections rearranged from their dramatic order for better "concert hall" effect - on this disc you can hear them all in the original order, plus other excerpts, songs and even spoken bits (in Norwegian!) It's all here on 2 CDs - along with two shorter works, "Before a Southern Convent" and "Bergliot." (Naxos 8.570871-72)
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