The WSCL Blog

News and information about WSCL's Classical Music Programming

Friday, June 29, 2012

Just Opened, Friday June 29, 2012

Our music today focuses on male musicians, mostly, whose dedication and almost reverent devotion to their music has made them renowned men of the music world.

The Lost Music of FERNANDO SOR
John Doan, harpolyre (guitar)
ISBN# 6 19981 26072 5
My delight of the week!  I've included a larger picture here so that you can get a better look at the historic oddity that John Doan is playing on this CD.  An invention of J.F. Salomon, taken up by composer guitarist Fernando Sor, the Harpolyre guitar - a guitar with three necks - one of many inventive guitars of the classical era, when all instruments were being "reinvented" to either expand their sound or their range.  Fernando Sor wrote some works specifically for this instrument, and they have been either figuratively lost - due to the inability of a regular guitar to play all the facets of the music, and literally lost/unplayed for scores of years, for the same reason.  Enter guitarist, musician, teacher John Doan, who has one of Salomon's original instruments, and here plays Sor's luxurious, melodic work with precision, technique, lyricism, and love.  In addition to his busy teaching schedule, Doan regularly tours, demonstrating the delights of this instrument.

Monks of the Desert
SONY 90204
ISBN# 8 8694 90204 2 9
Chant music in a variety of modes, sung by the (all male) members of this monastic order.  St. Augustine said that "singing is praying twice."  The monks of this order practice chant as both prayer and as a device of community unity.  It also allows for the monks who are particularly literate to follow their calling by desciphering and sharing works in a variety of complex "modes" (the tuning systems of these early times).  The selections on this CD reflect the entire year of church calendar.

Liszt: Harmonies du Soir
ISBN# 0 28947 82728 3
Mature, world-recognized virtuoso Nelson Freire is also acclaimed as an exceptional interpreter of Franz Liszt.  (Liszt is the perfect example of our theme today, rarely has there been more a "man of the world," yet he spent many years living in a Roman monastery, following the Cicielian movement - the thought that music should return to gregorian roots.)  These later years of his life are reflected in some of the works here, in addition to brighter waltzes and rhapsodies from his early "worldly" years.  Great piano performances of works of THE great pianist.

The Sixteen & Harry Christophers
Kaori Muraji, guitar
ISBN# 0 28947 58199 4
Recognized internationally for their mainly accapella excellence, especially in interpreting early music, is reinforced with this CD of well known early works contrasted with new works, and revelatory arrangements of other works - such as Borodin's Polovtsian Dance arranged for vocal chorus and used as a setting for words of Shakespeare.  Brilliant!

from St. Paul's Cathedral
Andrew Lucas, organ
NAXOS 550955
ISBN# 730099 595520
If you love traditional organ works, this is a treat you will not want to pass up.   Works by Reger, Franck, Langlais and Vierne played on the organ of one of the historic St. Paul's Cathedral.
Richard Abel, piano
Philharmonic Orch. of Prague
Peter Benda, leader
RAC 1374
ISBN# 6 19061 13742 8
Abel, known for his popular piano stylings, has the entertainment clout to put together a "classical" package to add to his diverse repertoire.  Here he plays a variety of dependable classics and excerpts of classics, backed by beautiful orchestrations by the Prague Philharmonic.

Eric Pritchard, violin
Randall Love, piano
Bill Robinson, composer
MSR 1343
ISBN# 6 81586 13432 9
MSR has carved out a formidable territory of gifted soloists playing new works for their instrument.  This can result in some challenging listening, and some inspiring interpretations, and marvelous new works.  All 3 are here in 3 works for solo violin, and two works for violin and piano by living modern composer Bill Robinson, marvelously played by Pritchard and Love.  For those who want "sleepytime" classics, this will not be for you - give this to your musically adventurous friend who appreciates strong musicianship and new works.

Thank you for listening!
Kara Dahl Russell

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