Friday, January 1, 2010
Just Opened, New Year's Day 2010
"Elgar: Symphonies Nos. 1 & 2; In the South; Serenade for Strings" - Philharmonia Orchestra; Halle Orchestra; John Barbirolli, cond.; Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra; Constantin Silvestri, Norman Del Mar, conds. One of five newly-reissued 2-disc-sets in the "British Composers" series on EMI. Barbirolli's accounts of the 2 Elgar Symphonies should never go out of print. While some may take issue with his tempi, the love and passion he has for this music is undeniable, and compelling. (EMI Classics 50999 9 68924 2 8 / 68924)
"Vivaldi: The Four Seasons" - English Chamber Orchestra; Nigel Kennedy, violin & cond. Kennedy's 1989 recording of the Four Seasons drop-kicked his career into the stratosphere, selling over 3 million copies around the world (almost unheard of for a Classical Music recording) and entering the Guinness Book of World Records as the bestselling classical music recording of all time. For those who might have missed it the first time around (myself included) here is a reissue that includes a DVD performance of the same works, performed with great brio and good fun before a live studio audience. The DVD also includes introductions by and an interview with the spiky-haired virtuoso. (EMI Classics 5099924273824 / 42738)
"Essential Hymns: 50 Best-Loved Hymns of All Time" - various composers, artists and performers. The title says it all - music drawn from the Anglican and Catholic choral tradition, covering all seasons, feasts and occasions. (Decca 028947578215 / B006647-02)
And two new Hadyn releases:
"Haydn: Piano Sonatas II" - Marc-Andre Hamelin, piano. Hamelin's previous volume of Haydn's piano sonatas earned well-deserved critical plaudits and reviews; Volume II no less so. Another two-disc set, featuring 9 sonatas and a Fantasia (Capriccio) in C Major, and the Sonata "Un piccolo divertimento" in f minor. Although not as famous as the solo keyboard sonatas of his nearest contemporaries, Beethoven and Mozart, Haydn's sonatas are brilliant enough on their own, provided there's a musician dedicated enough to shine a light on them. Such is Marc-Andre Hamelin. (Hyperion 03457177106 / CDA67710)
"Haydn: Mass in B Major "Harmoniemesse;" Symphony No. 88; Sinfonia (Overture) in D Major" - Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra and Chorus; Mariss Jansons, cond. One of the great things about a composer-anniversary year, if done right, is that it allows us to pay attention to some of the more neglected areas of repertoire. For Haydn, the keyboard sonatas and the choral works are cases in point. The centerpiece of this CD is the Harmonie Mass in B Major, coupled with the Symphony No. 88 and a short sinfonia, or overture, in D Major. One of 8 initial releases on the Bavarian Radio Symphony's own record label, BR Klassik - distributed world-wide by Naxos. A DVD of these live performances is available, too. (BR Klassik 4035719001020)
Happy New Year to one and all - may your CD player never go hungry!
The views expressed in the posts and comments of this blog do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Public Radio Delmarva, its staff, members, underwriters, Salisbury University, or the Salisbury University Foundation. They should be understood as the personal opinions of the author. No information on this blog will be understood as official.