The WSCL Blog

News and information about WSCL's Classical Music Programming

Monday, March 29, 2010

Just Opened recordings on Friday, March 26, 2010

"Dmitry Shostakovich: Symphonies Nos. 5 & 9" - Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra; Vasily Petrenko, conductor. Petrenko and the Liverpool Philharmonic have been recording Shostakovich's symphonies, ballets and film scores for the Naxos label; their latest entry is the classic combo of the ever-popular Symphony No. 5 (or, Shostakovich gets down to business) and the whimsical, neo-classical Symphony No. 9 (or Shostakovich on a lark.) (Naxos 747313216772 / 8.572167)

"J.S. Bach:
Violin and Voice" - Hilary Hahn, violin; Christine Schafer, soprano; Matthias Goerne, baritone; Munchener Kammerorchester; Alexander Liebreich, conductor. For her newest Bach CD (her third) Hilary Hahn is joined by soprano Christine Schafer and Matthias Goerne for her first collaboration with vocalists, in a program called "Violin and Voice:'' arias and duets from Bach's many cantatas that involve voice with violin obbligato. Includes luminous duets from Bach's Cantatas BWV 140 and 158, and selections from the St Matthew Passion ("Erbarme dich" and "Gebt mir meinen Jesum wieder") and the Mass in b minor ("Laudamus te.") (Deutsche Grammophon DG 028947780922 / BOO13832-02)

"Pleasantries and Diversions"
- Barbara Ann Fackler, harp. From Northern Illinois comes this independent release from Musikwerke Fackler - the husband and wife duo of Barbara Fackler (harp) and Daniel Fackler (horn.) It's subtitled "Softly Soothing and Gently Cheerful Refreshment for the Soul," but that only scratches the surface. It's also an exploration of ancient and popular folk songs, tunes and hymns either written for or arranged for harp - hymns such as "Simple Gifts" and "Wondrous Love," English folk songs ("Greensleeves," "Kingsfold," i.e., "Dives and Lazarus,") Lullabies ("Hush a Bye," "All the Pretty Little Horses") as well as Italian Renaissance dances you might recognize from Respighi's "Ancient Airs and Dances." The disc also includes some original numbers by both Daniel and Barbara Fackler. Excellent liner notes, too. (MF 700261289489 / MF-101. More information can be found on their website,

"Ferdinand Ries:
Piano Sonatas and Sonatinas * 1" - Susan Kagan, piano. Ries was a friend and pupil of Beethoven; 14 years his junior, they first met in Bonn, maintained contact in Vienna and even later when Ries moved to London. You might think someone so close to Beethoven would write piano sonatas that sound like his, but not so nearly - while modeled on those of Haydn and early Beethoven, Ries' sonatas sound closer in style to the music of Schubert, Mendelssohn, or even Chopin - masters who came along much later. This is the first volume in a projected series of solo piano works by Ries. (Naxos 747313079674 / 8.570796)

"Frederic Chopin:
The Piano Concertos" - Rafal Blechacz, piano; Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra; Jerzy Semkow, conductor. This year marks the bicentennial of the birth of Chopin, and also the next edition of the Chopin International Piano Competition in Warsaw. The winner in the previous competition in 2005 was a young Polish pianist named Rafal Blechacz (say RAF-aw BLEH-kahch) who not only took the top prize but special prizes in all four categories. His impressive debut recording on DG was Chopin (naturally) and for his third release, the two piano concertos, which he performed on tour in the US this past winter. (Deutsche Grammophon DG 028947780885 / 477 8088)

Our thanks to Naxos, Crossover Media, Universal Music, and Barbara Ann Fackler for this week's new recordings on "Just Opened."


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