The WSCL Blog

News and information about WSCL's Classical Music Programming

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Just Opened, Friday Sept. 2, 2011

Akiko Ebi, piano
Hiroshi Koizumi, flute
Tomoko Kato, violin
DENON 78953
ISBN# 0 81757 89535 3
If you want to adventure into the world of musical compositions by Japanese composers, this is a very easy puddle to jump. Oe's music is very accessible to the western ear, these works easily reminiscent of Romantic era chamber works. It almost distracts from the beauty of the work to tell his story, it is so unusual: from his head injury at a young age, to a special class for the handicapped, his performances of Mozart & Chopin, leaving school to go to a welfare house, and then the begginnings of his composition. This is the kind of story that rivals the histories of the brilliant Mozart and the perpetually ill Chopin, culminating (so far) in one of his works being chosen for a television program and multiple recordings. These chamber works reflect a trend current in Asia now, the resurgence of the Romantic sound heard in the sound of many Eastern composers. This is my delight of the week. Oe's story of triumph over the limitations of the physical world would be enough to make this make this a hope-filled delight, and moreover, the music stands above and beyond his personal story, beautiful and romantic.

Music Aurea
Jean Wolteche, dir.
ISBN# 7 30357 01382 7
The Maryland Renaissance Festival, one of the largest Renaissance Fairs in the country, is currently goin on nearby here in Crownsville Maryland, just across the bay. Welcome to the visiting Ren-Faire listeners, this is something for you, as well as our regular early music fans. Part of their "from the vault" series, Boston Skyline has taken older recordings and re-grouped them for special interest focus. Many of these are early music groups from the early days of the resurgence of interest in early music, just when early music and early "performance practice" started to be taken seriously in conservatories. So these are seminal recordings in the study of new music, but don't confuse it with being stuffy. These are exciting performances of early music, and this one, being dance music, is an extra special gift of history.

Music by Giuseppe Verdi
in Arrangements
Arte Ensemble Hannover
Carola Guber, mezzo
CPO 999 849
ISBN# 7 61203 98492 3
Different groupings of the Hannover ensemble have made a name for themselves in re-working the masters of big symphonic scores for chamber musicians, espeically with the help of arranger Andreas Tarkmann (one of the arrangers on this CD). This is actually another aspect of historical music. As displayed in an earlier CD of theirs, where an entire opera of Schubert was arranged for chamber group, this was frequently done while these operas were "new" in theatres. Just as pianists of the time were composing "themes and variations" on these operas, others were making chamber arrangements for home amusements, and in the salons. Here we have the great melodies of Verdi joined with the excellent musicianship of Arte Ensemble Hannover. Simply Lovely.

Symphonies 4 & 5
New Zealand Symph. Orch.
pietari Inkinen, cond.
NAXOS 572227
ISBN# 7 47313 22277 3
Jean Sibelius's mastery of the orchestra has been described as prodigious. While he composed in many different genres, the core of his oeuvre is his set of seven symphonies. Like Beethoven, his style evolved as he relected influences and changes in taste, both his own and the popular taste. He began as a strong Wagnerian, but began to tire of these concepts and felt that music should reflect the world at large, not just its own introspective world. Together, these symphonys lead us from the dark into the light. His works influenced Vaughan Williams and Bruckner, among others. Here are two of his symphonies from a transitional period as he re-thought his idea toward symphonic inspiration, performed by a world-class symphony, under the baton of one of the world's leading conductors.

I hope you enjoied these selections on Just Opened.
Join us for more new releases next Friday at 1PM.
Kara Dahl Russell

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