The WSCL Blog

News and information about WSCL's Classical Music Programming

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Just Opened, Friday August 26, 2011

Kathryn Steely, viola
Vincent De Vries, harpsichord
MSR 1379
ISBN# 6 81585 13792
Kathryn Steely has a magnificent, full rich tone to her viola playing. This is the kind of thing that is not the instrument itself, or the player, but the combination of the two, and this lush sound is set off by the crisp accompaniment of the harpsichord. This CD highlights the compositions of William Flackton for "tenor violin," some of the earliest works for viola composed in Britain. Also here is a Sonata by Handel, and the CD closes with a work for viola and cello (Adrienne Steely, cellist) by Carl F. Abel. The unique and pleasing contrast of sonority of the viola and harpsichord, along with these rarely heard Baroque compositions, make this my delight of the week!

Romantic Music for Horn
Gergory Miller, horn
Ernest Baretta, piano
MSR 1096
ISBN# 6 81585 10962
If you like romantic period music (and who doesn't?), and the glorious tone of the horn played with sensitivity and brilliance of technique, you can't go wrong with this CD. The music here is so very accessible: predominanty works by Gliere, Strauss, Schumann, with a melodic Scriabin work, a Bach tune, and a Bernstein elegy. The tonality of persuasiveness of Gregroy Miller's horn playing is enough to make you swoon... but snap out of it, because you won't want to miss a note.

Opera Overtures Vol 3
The Hanover Band
Anthony Halstead, cond.
CPO 999 753
ISBN# 7 61203 97532 7
Do not be confused by the name "Hanover Band" this is a band in terms of - a band of musicians working together - this is a chamber orchestra of excellence, handled with finesse by Halstead in timeless works - primarily overtures - by Johann Christain Bach. Overtures are always easily accessible, predominantly upbeat, to get you engaged and ready... so this is an easy addition to your music collection.

The Romantic Violin Concerto - 9
BBD Scottish Symph. Orch.
Martyn Brabbins, cond.
Hagai Shaham, violin
Hyperion 67804
ISBN# 0 34571 17804 2
Would you like to join the chorus of folks saying, "Ferdinand David? I've never heard of him!" I was part of the chorus until last week. His work is melodic and moving in the best of the romantic tradition. It is a testiment not to his lack, but to the wealth of great composers in the Romantic movement that we do not hear his name more frequently. Darkly handsome Hagai Shaham (of the bedroom eyes) displays his musical magnificence on these works that seem to be tailor-made for him. He is the model of the 1800s romantic violinist. Martyn Brabbins and the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra are internationally recognized for their excellence. When you add these components to romantic-era compositions of lush melody, it's a no-brainer that we will remember, and seek out, more works by David.

Garrich Ohlsson, piano
Ewa Podles, contralto
ISBN#0 26724 6746 2 4
Chopin's works remain among the most personally touching amongst the compositions of the greats, partially due to his own love of Italian "cantabile" melody, a singing melody that makes even the most complex works feel simple enough to sing. This touches the human heart. Known for his extensive piano works, it is easy to forget that he actually did write songs to be sung. Some of these have transcended the vocal genre and migrated into other solo-line instruments, but here we have them sung in the luscious contralto voice of Ewa Podles. As one might expect, these songs are mainly dark, but there are happy surprises like a drinking song! With masterful accompaniment by Garrich Ohlsson, this is a much-needed addition to any collection of Chopin works. The final work on this CD is Chopin's variations on Rossini's theme from Cinderella, where flautist Elizabeth Mann joins Ohlsson. Simply great.

I hope you enjoied these, and will tune in again for
JUST OPENED on WSCL 89.5, Friday at 1PM
Kara Dahl Russell

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