Monday, May 24, 2010
Just Opened on Friday, May 21, 2010
"Ralph Vaughan Williams: Dona Nobis Pacem; Sancta Civitas" - Christina Pier, soprano; Matthew Brook, baritone; Andrew Staples, tenor; The Bach Choir; Winchester Cathedral Choristers; Winchester College Quiristers; Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra; David Hill, conductor. From a fascinating Vaughan Williams series on the Naxos label comes the latest offering, two longer-form choral works which are rarely recorded: from the 1920's the oratorio Sancta Civitas ("Holy City") for baritone, tenor, chorus and semi-chorus and orchestra; and from the 1930's, the cantata Dona Nobis Pacem ("Grant us peace") for soprano, baritone, chorus and orchestra. Although Vaughan Williams described himself as "a cheerful agnostic," he was fascinated by the traditions of the Anglican Church and curious as to "what lies beyond sense and knowledge." Sancta Civitas, whose text comes from Revelation, reflects on the ongoing battle between good and evil...Dona Nobis Pacem, a prayer for peace, came out during the anxious days preceding the Second World War. Both works are just as relevant today as ever. (Naxos 747313242474 / 8.572424)
"Arcangelo Corelli: Violin Sontas 1-6, Opus 5" - Brandywine Baroque; Cynthis Freivogel, violin; Karen Flint, harpsichord; Douglas McNames, cello. It's impossible to overestimate the importance of these works in the history of classical music; published at the dawn of the 18th Century, it would have an impact on baroque music practice and solo violin playing for the next 100 years. Both Bach and Handel drew inspiration from it, and Corelli societies sprang up all over Europe, allowing both amateur and professional musicians to come together to play his music. That fascination continues in the present day, and the Wilmington-based Brandywine Baroque honors and upholds the tradition. (Plectra Music 884501313421 / PL 21002)
"In the Still of the Night" - Anna Netrebko, soprano; Daniel Barenboim, piano. For Russian soprano Anna Netrebko, her first concert-recital recording and a follow-up to her successful collection of Romantic Russian song on "The Russian Album." Captured live at the Salzburg Festival on August 17, 2009, it's a collection of songs by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov and Pyotr Tchaikovsky, with two encores. The accompaniest is Daniel Barenboim. It all comes in a nice package: a hardcover booklet with complete song texts, liner notes, and an interview with Netrebko about the making of this concert recording. (Deutsche Grammophon 028947788676 / 477 8867)
"Max Bruch: Symphonies Nos. 1 and 2" - Staatskapelle Weimar; Michael Halasz, conductor. Although fated, perhaps, for being a one-work composer (the Violin Concerto No. 1), for Max Bruch nothing could be further from the truth. In addition to 2 other equally-fine violin concertos and some splendid choral works, Bruch also composed three wonderful symphonies. The first, dedicated to Brahms, is reminiscent of Mendelssohn and Schumann; the second, a slightly longer work, echoes the music of both Brahms and Beethoven. (Naxos 747313099474 / 8.570994)
"Franz Schubert: Impromptus and Dances" - Vassily Primakov, piano. It's Schubert the dancing-master that Primakov pays tribute to in his latest CD from Bridge Records. Although Schubert was himself not much of a dancer (according to his friends) he still had a real gift for it, as evidenced here. Primakov compiles his own suite of 14 waltzes, and plays suites of 12 Waltzes and 13 Landler arranged by his teacher, Vera Gornostaeva. Schubert-the-improviser is represented by the Impromptus 1 & 2, Op. 142, and the four Impromptus Op. 90. (Bridge Records 090404932724 / BRIDGE 9327)
Thanks to our friends at Bridge Records, Universal Music, Naxos North America, harmonia mundi usa, and Brandywine Baroque for sending us their latest offerings for "Just Opened."
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