The WSCL Blog

News and information about WSCL's Classical Music Programming

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Just Opened, April 13, 2012

With the re-release & digital remastering of the "Titanic" soundtrack and the historic background music used in the film, we're focusing primarily this week on new arrangments of historic works, and new ways of making music ...

Music From The Motion Picture
Music composed and conducted by
James Horner and John Altman
2 CD set Anniversary Edition
ISBN# 8 8691 91475 2 0
Remastered and re-released along with the anniversary and release of the 3-D motion picture. There were two multi-CD sets put out. The 4 CD set has met with very mixed consumer reviews, quibbles with the additional two discs, but the 2 CD set that we were sent by Sony leaves no room for the quibbles. As you probably know from seeing the film or hearing clips, the Horner original soundtrack is based on a strongly Celtic music sound, often very synthesized or electronically enhanced, and the Celine Dion song ... "will go on." Initially released separately with very little fanfare was the historically informed/researched background music arranged by John Altman, played by I Soloisti. These are works played by piano & string quartet - historically the musicians hired on the White Star line, works from the "White Star Line Song Book" - the book that was required playing for their musicians; including the two works that varying eye witness accounts say was the last thing played as the muscians played while the ship sank (Song of Autumn and/or Nearer My God to Thee). It makes for bittersweet listening. Excellent historical performances and worth the price of the set, and a fine contrast/compliment to the very different sound world of the score that was composed to sound both current and evoke the past.

Ancient and Modern Music for the Kugo
Tomoko Sugawara (kugo)
Robert Dick (alto flute)
Ozan Aksoy (bendir and darabukka)
ISBN# 1 81212 00031 3
The Summer 2011 issue of the quarterly EARLY MUSIC AMERICA magazine did a feature article on Sugawara (see below). She worked together with historical achelologist/musicologist Bo Lawergren and a harp maker to create a Kugo (ancient angular harp, also called Chang )... reconstructed from historical manuscripts and paintings on relics and other decorations. Similar instruments spread from the orient to Sumeria to Moorish Spain and were being played up into the 1200s. Sugawara is one of only two or three in the world making this instrument a special focus, bringing it back from antiquity, recording music based on ancient texts and new music written for this instrument as well. This would be of special interest to anyone interested in music history, and those interested in religious and biblical music, as this haunting and genuine sound of truly EARLY music.

Rick Sowash
Trio les Gavottes
Rick Sowash is not only a musician and composer, he has also been an early adapter to the world of self-producing and publishing his works & recordings. (One of his other recordings features Salisbury University's own Dr. Jeffrey Schoyen.) The soundworld of Sowash varies from modern atonality to a new age softness bordering on romanticism. This is the latter, very accessible and easy to pop into the player to soothe the end of a hectic day.

eONE 7784
ISBN# 0 9992377842 4
Tchaikovsky, Serenade for Strings
Shostakovich, Chamber Symphony in C minor
Geminani/Wiancko, "La Follia" Variations
This is the premier recording of the "self directed" East Coast Chamber Orchestra. This egalitarian way of working has been gaining favor among many musicians and this group is in the forefront of the movement.

The Rodney Mack
Philadelphia Big Brass
ISBN # 8 84501 68240 4
My Delight of the Week!
Rodney Mack is famous in his own right, not only as a relative of the musical Marsalis family. Mack has put together a group of magnificent brass musicians, and superlative arrangements of classical works; arrangements so deft, and playing so nuanced that you'll swear you're hearing a string section at times! Brass music has a lot of fans, and this CD may be the answer for even those who are brass immune. And for those brass lovers who think they don't like classical music, this may be the answer for you, with these stirring arrangments of concert hall classics, it makes for a very friendly introduction to great works.
(Our own Tom Hehman recently attended a weekend brass Master Class run by Mack. He said it was inspiring and moving to see these great musicians having such comraderie and support for the aspiring players, and the difference made in such a short amount of time.)

Ute Lemper, vocals
Vogler Quartet
Stefan Malzew
ISBN# 0 3406230009 9
Ute Lemper's chanteuse stylings are not the stuff of our usual playlist, but when her "back up band" is the Vogler Quartet, it's worth a mention and we played a few cuts for you. This is the current trend for traditional "classical" musicians, "cross-over" marketing is the norm. While some may rightfully bemoan the defiling of the purity of the classical concert hall, it is hard to ignore the equally astute observation that crossover combinations like this can introduce a "classical" group of musicians to an entire world of listeners for whom concert music is a mysterious "other." Lemper's historically inspired performance style and persona is actually a great fit for the classical music audience, and for most, this cross over will not be a bridge too far at all.

Thanks again to our intern Chris Grindley for his help putting together the skeleton of this post for me to add my comments to. It's a big help!
We hope you enjoied our Titanic Just Opened!
Kara Dahl Russell

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