Monday, December 13, 2010
Just Opened December 10, 2010
"Christmas from Oxford: Carols and Christmas Music from Worcester College, Oxford" - The Choir of Worcester College, Oxford; Christopher Sparkhall, conductor. One of many titles published by "Gift of Music," now distributed worldwide by Naxos. Each title is devoted to specific choral group, or theme. This release is one of the former, featuring various carols from the English boy choir choral tradition. More titles can be found here. (Gift of Music 658592102024 / CCL CDG 1020)
"Puer natus est: Tudor Music for Advent and Christmas" - Stile Antico. Release no. 5 from this young group of English choristers on the harmonia mundi label, centering on Thomas Tallis' seven-part Christmas Mass, based on the plainchant that gives the CD its name. Since the mass is incomplete (only the Gloria, Sanctus & Benedictus, and Agnus Dei are extant) the program is interspersed with motets by other Tudor composers: John Taverner's Audivi vocem; selections from William Byrd's Gradualia; Robert White's Magnificat; John Sheppard's Verbum caro, and Tallis' Videte miraculum. (harmonia mundi 093046751760 / 807517)
"J.S. Bach: Magnificat BWV 243; Unser mund sei voll lachens BWV 110" - Netherlands Bach Society; Jos van Veldhoven, conductor. Ever since their pioneering release, a lavish production of Bach's Christmas Oratorio, this Netherlands Bach group has not disappointed. Their new recording of the Magnificat is Bach's second version, which may have been performed with the parts interspersed with Christmas motets that would have been familiar with the members of Bach's church in Leipzig. This recording features works by Sweelinck, Verrijt, Schein, and Johann Michael Bach. The Christmas cantata (translated as "Let our mouths be filled with laughter") takes for it's opening chorale the theme from Bach's Orchestral Suite in D Major. (Channel Classics 723385320104 / CCS SA 32010)
"The Cherry Tree: Songs, Carols and Ballads for Christmas" - Anonymous 4. This vocal group decided to break up a few years ago; I'm really glad they changed their minds. This is their 18th CD with harmonia mundi, and their first original recording in 4 years. For the first time they mix the medieval European music that made their career with the New World hymns and songs that have occupied them recently. The hymns and ballads are from 15th Century England (plus some plainchant from 14th century Ireland) and the songs are from the American hymnal, with "The Cherry Tree" carol being the focal point for the program. As per usual, with excellent liner notes and full song texts. (harmonia mundi 093046745363 / 807453)
"Piano Masterworks by Chopin-Godowsky, Handel, Brahms and Debussy" - Ivan Ilic, piano. The second sampler disc from this French-born American pianist, who calls Paris home and records there for the Paratay label. This one features four Chopin etudes arranged for left hand alone by Leopold Godowsky; Handel's Suite No. 5 in E Major; Two Intermezzi, Op. 116 by Brahms, and four Preludes by Claude Debussy - La danse de Puck, La fille aux cheveux de lin, La serenade interrompue, and Ce qu'a vu le Vent d'Ouest. More information can be found on his website, www.IvanCDG.com.
"Ravel: The Piano Concertos; Miroirs" - Pierre-Laurent Aimard, piano; The Cleveland Orchestra; Pierre Boulez, conductor. The second of two new releases with Boulez and the Cleveland Orchestra features pianist Pierre-Laurent Aimard, another of Boulez' frequent collaborators. The two piano concertos were captured live at Severance Hall in Cleveland, in what the pianist calls one "religious week" back in February. Well, the results sound divine. Includes the five-part Miroirs for solo piano. (Deutsche Grammophon 028947787709 / B0014764-02)
Thanks this week go to Universal Music Classics; Ivan Ilic, Naxos and harmonia mundi usa.
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