The WSCL Blog

News and information about WSCL's Classical Music Programming

Monday, September 12, 2011

Just Opened, Friday Sept. 9, 2011

Our broadcast of JUST OPENED this Friday was primarily devoted to remembrance of the 10th Anniversary of the Sept. 11 terroist attacks & those who lost their lives, and those who gave their lives in service.

Music for Piano
Lambert Orkis, historic piano
ISBN# 0 90404 92062
In our current music/sound saturated world, rarity is a real gift. And so these performances by virtuoso Lambert Orkis, on an 1865 Chickering concert grand, housed at the Smithsonian Institution, is a musical present from the past. This is the composer's personal preference of piano & what he played in concert. Gottschalk is perhaps best known for his colorful, upbeat, and shorter works, which represent the cross pollination of cultures in New Oreleans, LA in the mid 1800s. Rare again, are recordings of his works for the concert hall, more serious in tone, but still infused with Gottschalk's unerring sense of what is in the popular heart. In the style of the day, some of the works have a pseudo-religious tone, as in his "grand caprice religieuse" The Song of the Martyr. Works like this were contrived to be "suitable and edifying" for young ladies to play... to provide religious meditation while playing. The popularity of these works waned quickly, but they are a window to the segmentaion of society, and a fascinating cultural landmark from the very "precious" period in 1800s America. This is my delight of the week.

Wiener Singerein
Berlin Philharmonic
Herbert Von Karajan, cond.
D.G. 477 7164
ISBN # 0 28947 77164 7
This CD couples two choral works by Wolfgang Amadeaus Mozart, his Requiem and His "Corornation" Mass. This recording has been reviewed as "one of the most flexible and accomplished versions of the work." This is a re-release and digitalization of a recording from 1975. The sound is gorgeous, the performance magnificent.

New York's
Ensemble for Early Music
Frederick Renz, dir.
Lyrichord Early Music Series
LEMS 8022
ISBN #7 44457 8022 2 9
I originally chose this CD of works from the 1200s and 1300s as an auditory "break" from the heavier requiems. But, as often happens with music, this very early music formed it's own symbiosis with the other works. One of the traditional instruments in this grouping of pieces is the bagpipe, so often heard at memorials, and here it was in ensemble with other period instruments in it's "natural habitat"... court dance music! The music from Early Europe (France & England 1200s, Italy 1300s) has a stark quality... the instruments all have "ping" (the term used for a broadway voice that can really carry... Merman had ping), when you combine this sound quality with the inevitable historical/timeless emotional resonance, you have something really special that is old and almost new again! Not everyone's cup of tea, but if you're one of the 10 thousands attending the Maryland Renaissance Festival, or an early music fan as I am, you'll want to look this up.

Gioacchino Rossini
The King's Consort
Robert King, cond.
Hyperion 67570
ISBN# 0 64571 17570 6
This beautiful and unusual work was recorded with two historic pianos from the 1800s, played by Gary cooper and Matthew Halls, and harmonium played by Mark Williams. This is a specific historic version of this work, "as performed in the Paris town house of Comtess Louise Pillet-Will on Sunday 14 March 1864." Far from being stuffy, the historic accuracy gives this recording a new immediacy. Carolyn Sampson, soprano, Hilary Summers, alto, tenors Andrew Tortise and William Unwin, and bass Andrew Foster-Williams are uniformly good. This is another rare treat.

I hope you enjoied this music of historical meaning and remembrance.
Kara Dahl Russell

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