The WSCL Blog

News and information about WSCL's Classical Music Programming

Monday, December 26, 2011

Just Opened, Friday Dec. 23, 2011

It's ba-a-a-ck.... Christmas Just Opened Part II

Bach, Schutz, Corelli
and Charpentier
4 CD SET of Cantatas
ISBN #7 94881 65232 7
Realeased as a 4 CD set in 2001, this magnificent set of truly great music is also available separately in previous releases (Bach 901594, Charpentier 901082, Corelli 901407, and Schutz 901310). But if you're looking for a gift to overwhelm the senses that truly is a gift that will be enjoied again and again, get the set. Collegium Vocale Gent, Les Arts Florissnats, Ensemble 415 and Concerto Vocale are the magnificent vocal groups represented here, all extra-ordinary! My Christmas Delight!

Apollo's Fire
Jeannette Sorrell, cond.
2 CD set and DVD
AVIE 2208
ISBN# 8 22252 22082 7
Exceptional performaces are the rule with Apollo's Fire. The performances and this recording of Handel's Messiah has met with international critical and popular acclaim. An additional DVD provides interviews with the musicians and insights into the conductor's insights into the score and her informed and imaginative interpretation of this beloved work. Many would love to receive this gift of great music, and it would be especially appreciated by those who are fans of early/original instrument performance.

Paul McCartney
London Classical Orchestra
John Wilson, cond
Hear Music/TELARC/Concord Release
Paul McCartney's first effort at writing a work for ballet was commissioned by the New York City Ballet and the recording was released in Oct. 2011. It is only fair to mention that McCartney did not do the orchestration, which was done by Andrew Cottee, and the work was arranged by McCartney and Conductor John Wilson. This is indeed a departure from his pop work. It is not the dissonant atonality that is often heard in the concert halls today, but is more like some film music, a flowing background mood, with very little musical "action." Some reviewers have said "many of you are not into classical music, but you may like this." That's true, because it isn't "classical music" at all, except for its intended purpose, to enhance a ballet. If you are looking for McCartney's exceptional way with a melody, you may be disappointed, there is very little of his unrivaled pop prowess evident here. Die hard fans will be very interested in hearing McCartney's efforts to expand and grow. New age ballet music best describes the multiple currents of low key, benignly pleasant energy.

The Bach Choir of Bethlehem
Greg Funfgeld, cond.
ISBN# 7 74204 99832 5
A range of choral works grace this CD, JSBach's Singet dem Herrn BWV 225, Britten's Rejoice in the Lamb, Bernstein's Chichester Psalms, and Paulus' A Dream of Time. The chorus is joined by marvelous solo voices.

Life and Works (series)
NAXOS 558005-6
2 CD set
ISBN#6 36943 80052 2
This is an entertaining and educational listen. If you like "books on tape," this is going to be a natural gift for you. In these two CDs we hear the life story of Franz Liszt, narrated and also "acted" with readings from his notebooks, diaries, and letters - his own, and those written to him by others. The story sections last generally 5-9 minutes, and then we get to hear musical selections from Liszt's incredible oeuvre. The musical selections generally around 5 minutes long and these are compiled performances by magnificent virtuosos. The music enhances and illuminates the work that Liszt was doing at the time of his life that was being talked about, so it really is a wonderful history in words and music. This is a series, "life and works" and it makes me want to hear the rest of the series. Included is a booklet that gives a written version of the recorded text so you can follow along. An imaginative and inspiring gift for any pianist, musician, or person who wants to know more about Liszt.

We hope you enjoied this special second Christmas Just Opened.
Kara Dahl Russell

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