The WSCL Blog

News and information about WSCL's Classical Music Programming

Monday, May 10, 2010

Just Opened - May 7, 2010

"Fantasy: A Night at the Opera" - Emmanuel Pahud, flute; Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra; Yannick Nezet-Seguin, conductor. A collection of virtuoso transcriptions for flute and orchestra from popular operas. The art of transcription goes back to the 18th and 19th centuries. In the days before home electronics, people who wanted to hear opera music at home would have transcriptions made for instruments such as flute, piano, or a small string ensemble. Here are a few arrangements for flute and piano/flute and orchestra by Franz and Karl Doppler, Guilio Briccialdi, Paul Taffanel, and Robert Fobbes...from Verdi's La Traviata and Rigoletto; "Lensky's Aria" from Tchaikovsky's Eugen Onegin; Taffanel's Fantasy on Weber's Der Freischutz; the Minuet and Dance of the Blessed Spirits from Gluck's Orphee et Eurydice; Fobbes' Fantasy on Mozart's Die Zauberflaute, and two more from Bizet's Carmen. Pahud says "here the flute converses with the orchestra like a prima donna, a diva on the stage." (EMI Classics 5099945781421 / 57814)

"Gershwin: Rhapsody in Blue, I Got Rhythm Variations, Piano Concerto" - Jean-Yves Thibaudet, piano; Baltimore Symphony Orchestra; Marin Alsop, conductor. For his latest release, Thibaudet revisits Gershwin's works for piano and orchestra in their ca. 1920's "Jazz-Band" versions - in the case of "Rhapsody" and the Concerto, the Ferde Grofe arrangements; for the "I Got Rhythm" Variations, Gershwin's own original manuscript. The result is a leaner, propulsive sound with a bit more "swing." The booklet contains an interview with Thibaudet and Alsop, discussing their approach to the music. (Decca 028947821892 / B0014091-02)



"Mandorla:
Choral Masterworks of Frank Martin, Edvard Grieg, and Howard Hanson" - Gloria Dei Cantores; Elizabeth C. Patterson, director. Gloria Dei Cantores is a 40-voice choir from Cape Cod, Massachusetts. The title refers to the thin, sacred space between heaven and earth where humanity meets the divine, where our spirit touches the face of God. All three of these works come from the troubled times of the 20th Century, when perhaps a little salvation was sorely needed. The best-known work here is Frank Martin's Mass for Double Choir. Grieg's Fire Salmer (Four Psalms) is his last composition, with four psalm settings for baritone voices and chorus. The disc concludes with Hanson's rarely-recorded Cherubic Hymn, which takes its text from the Greek Orthodox liturgy of St John Chrysostom. (Gloria Dei Cantores 709887004827 / GDCD 048)


"Mozart:
Symphonies 39 and 40" - Freiburger Barockorchester; Rene Jacobs, conductor. Jacobs has made some award-winning recordings on early instruments of some of Mozart's operas, and continues his sideline exploration of the late symphonies with the Freiburg Baroque Orchestra. On his approach to Mozart, Jacobs says "A lot of people think period instrument performance means everything fast...I know that, say, Mozart's own tempi were faster than what is now usual, but on the other hand, there are also moments when time must stand still." (harmonia mundi 794881943722 / HMC 901959)


"Debussy:
Images, Orchestral Works Volume 3" - Orchestre National de Lyon; Jun Markl, conductor. Continuing the Debussy series on Naxos, crystal-clear performances of the Images for Orchestra, and four shorter works: Ravel's arrangements of the Sarabande from "Pour Le Piano" and Danse; the Marche ecossaise (Scottish March) and La plus que lente. (Naxos 747313229673 / 8.572296)




Five terrific discs this week! Thanks always to EMI Classics, Universal-Decca, harmonia mundi usa, Gloria Dei Cantores, and Naxos North America for supporting classical music on WSCL's "Just Opened."

Bill

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