The WSCL Blog

News and information about WSCL's Classical Music Programming

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Just Opened, Nov. 18, 2011

Huelgas Ensemble
Paul Van Nevel, cond.
SONY 60760
ISBN# 0 7464-60760-6
The exquisite voices of Huelgas Ensemble set their sights on the acapella works of Alexander Agricola (1446-1506). They give us a cross section of his mostly non-imitative polyphonic works (similar to Hildegard von Bingen's works), by sectioning the CD into 3 parts: "chant sur le livre"(sing on the book) style, sacred masses, and chansons. We had a give away of this CD today, and it was immediately snapped up. Not everyone likes these early vocal works, but for those who do... this is it! Truly uplifting.

Lullabies from around the world
Heidi Grant Murphy
and Aureole
KOCH 7433
ISBN# 0 99923 74332 3
Murphy has had a charmed career, from opera stages to Broadway. The individuals of the Aureole trio all have solo careers and play in other groups, as well as in this trio. But what really sets this CD of lullabies into a class by itself are the luscious arrangements of each piece. Most fall into a "high broadway" style, a slight pop edge, but mainly a luscious romanticism at their core, lilting in the extreme. The opening cut of "Sleep Baby Don't Cry" arranged by Richard Rodney Bennett has crossed over on all kinds of stations, the caribbean lullabye hits all the right notes, and each cut on this CD hits the same level of breathless expressiveness. I have all ready purchased this one to give as a gift to new parents for the baby (and for them)!

LISZT Wild & Crazy
2 CD set
multiple artists
D.G. 15651
ISBN# 0 28947 79526
We had a give-away copy of this CD set which also was snapped up within the first minute. This is a compilation CD set of magnificent artists playing the works of Franz Liszt. Almost all solo piano works the Berlin Phil and the London Symphony Orch join in on two of the works. The marvelous thing about this set is that we not only get to hear all these great works, but the variety of the virtuosos also means that we get to hear Liszt through different prisms. Vladimir Horowitz, Mikhail Pletnev, Marta Argerich, Yundi Li, Alic Sara Ott, are only about 1/2 of the magnificent solists, familiar and new-on-the-scene. I'm not always a fan of compilation CDs, but when it works, it works like THIS!
My delight of the week! A fantastic gift idea for anyone who has ever taken a piano lesson!

Joseph Payne, organ
NAXOS 550965
ISBN# 4 891030 509658
When people ask me what is the most difficult instrument to play, I point to the organ. Not only are there multiple keyboards to be played, but stops to be pulled, and you have to play with your feet. It is no surprise some of history's greatest composers began by playing the organ. It is unfortunate then, that so many CDs of organ works get bogged down in drone of religious monotony. Very lucky we are then, to find CDs like this; that vary religious works with fantasias and sonatas, by a wealth of composers.

A Song in Season
The Cambridge Singers
Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
John Rutter, cond.
Collegium 135
ISBN# 0 40888 01352 5
John Rutter has made a name for himself on strength of choral, religious works that pull the heart strings with their shifting, evokative harmonies. This CD does not disappoint. Rutter conducts his own works here, with magnificent singers and soloists, for a CD that will be listened to all through the year, not just during the holidays. I couldn't wait for our Christmas special for this one, and you won't want to wait either. These works were so beautiful that I was receiving calls about it while it was still playing on the air. Just beautiful.

We hope you enjoied these.
Join us next week for more new releases, Just Opened.
Kara Dahl Russell

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