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News and information about WSCL's Classical Music Programming

Thursday, May 26, 2011

JUST OPENED, Friday May 27, 2011

Gods, Emperors & Angels
Concertos for Recorder, Violin,
Basson & Strings
La Serenissima
Adrian Chandler, cond. & violin
Avie 2201
ISBN#8 22252 22012 4
A special treat for those who love early music, La Serenissima provides a nice variety of Vivaldi's works, concertos, sonatas, and a few "fragments." Some of these give weight to the violins, others to the basson, and others to the recorder. This variety means that it is a well planned program, one that keeps new focus coming for your ears, keeping you tuned in, with new auditory treats at each turn. As with many groups, these musicians perform on period instruments, and while not a new thing (early music has been having a resurgence since the 1970s), it is a special joy for those (like me) who love the woodsy mellowness of the recorder, the hushed mellowness of older bassoons, and the contrast of crispness with the early violins.

The Cleveland Orchestra
Mitsuko Uchida, cond. & piano solo
London Decca 15498
ISBN# 0 28947 82596 8
Are you a fair-weather friend of Mozart? If you like Mozart only when he is light, bright, snappy and happy, then this may not be the CD for you. These two larger piano concertos are best described as gentle or pensive, I think. The brilliant Mitsuko Uchida brings her prowess to these works. Don't be afraid of the dark! Think of the power and magesty of the shadowy moments of Don Giovanni - these are works with gravitas on all levels, including the magnificence of the piano solos! This is Mozart, of course, so we still have his baseline optimism and vivacity to bring us out of the sombre tones with Uchida's precise, lightning fingerings.

Die schone Mullerin
Franz Schubert
Mark Padmore & Paul Lewis
Harmonia Mundi 907519
ISBN#0 93046 75192 0
The poems of Wilhelm Muller that depict a lovelorn young man on a journey of false hopes are the test of Schubert's first song cycle "Die Schone Mullerin." Mark Padmore and Paul Lewis were termed "a ideal partnership" in their recording of Schubert's "Die Winteresse." They team up again here to bring these works to life. Whereas Die Winteresse is a wintery work of freezing despair, this work allowed Schubert to apply his own youthful urgency (and urges) to the story of a young man in love with a girl who prooves to be provacative and unattainable - for him, at any rate. Schubert revels in the complexity of the hopes of love dashed against the rocks of river... and the final berceuse that brings a gentle quietude, is actually bringing the hero the peace of death in a river. This is life in all it's forlorn & creepy corners -- it is Schubert, after all....

Complete Music for Cello & Piano
Laurence Lesser, cello
HaeSun Paik, piano
BRIDGE 9329 ISBN# 0 90404 93292 2
2 CDs & 1 DVD
This two CD set features the work of a musician who has been time-teasted and well rounded. As a teen, Lesser was praised by Pablo Casals, then he studied with Piatagorsky, who made him his teaching assistant, and began Lesser's teaching career. At a time when each movie studio had it's own full orchestra, Lesser was concertizing in Los Angeles. In the '70s he began teaching at the New England Conservatory, where he rose to the Presidency. Realizing that this responsibility curtailed the concert work he loved, he left that post in the late 1990s. While not a household name, he is a prime example of a musician's musician... someone known and respected by other musicians. He is joined by HaeSun Paik, who was working on the Beethoven piano sonata herself, when he asked her to join him in this particular musical journey. The quality of tone and excellence of sound simply has to be heard. The DVD which accompanies the CDs is like a masterclass in Form and Analysis of Beethoven's cello works, and not dry bones, but varied and interesting.
*** While I usually have a "delight" of the week, this is something deeper... fullfilling with a resonance as deep as the voice of Lesser's cello. Enjoy! ***

Mark O'Connor
Nadja Salerno-Sonnenerg
Coloado Symphony Orchestra
Marin Alsop, cond.
OMAC 8 ISBN#0-9708266-4-8
We showcased O'Connor's crisp, crunchy & sweet "Johnny Appleseed Suite" which reminds one of a home-town Copeland - with more swing in it's step. This CD also contains 3 other works by prolific fiddler/composer Mark O'Connor. He and classical virtuoso Salerno-Sonnenberg trade musical phrases in his "Double Concerto," and this CD includes his orchestral arrangements of the Appalacia Waltz and Amazing Grace. O'Connor is the quintessential classical crossover artist who appeals to those who admire great musicianship, and sounds that cross boundaries between mountain music, folk, and traditional symphonic fare. Personally, I hear growth and a new steady sureness in his work that is always a joy. If you mix politics with your music and want your composers American, and your music lilting with Americana, this is a sure bet for you!

Join me next week for more new releases on JUST OPENED!
Kara Dahl Russell

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