The WSCL Blog

News and information about WSCL's Classical Music Programming

Friday, November 15, 2013

Just Opened, Nov. 15, 2013 - Mostly Modern

Some of our WSCL friends hear the word "modern" and wrinkle their collective noses... but what about Ravel's Bolero... one of the best known, most requested works, that has crossed over to the pop world?  That's modern music.   Franz Liszt, now a "standard" was constantly "modernizing" during his reign as one of the top piano virtuosos and composers.   Prokofiev wrote works that were both challenging, but as engaging and "spot-on" as his Romeo and Juliet music.  Then there are the fleet of new "modern" composers who are using words like "neo-classical" and "neo-romantic" to describe themselves.   Modern music is just such a box of chocolates.

Mary Stuckemeyer, basson
Gail Novak, piano
PM 1029
ISBN #6 70541 35951 8
For more info. & purchase
My Delight of the Week!   I've mentioned before how much I like the bassoon, but ... not always the new works written for it.  Stuckemeyer has a great sense of what works for the bassoon and has chosen a select platter of sweets.  Playing since the age of 11 (and a clear sense of business smarts and humor) has given her a honed target on what people like to hear on her chosen instrument.  Expertly paired with pianist Gail Novak, this is a sweet treat!

LISZT vol. 2
Garrick Ohlsson, piano
ISBN # 0 90404 94092 7
Ohlsson's bio & CD info.
My two favorite Liszt works are on this CD   "The Play of Water at the Villa D'Este" is a personal favorite, as well as "The Mephisto Waltz."  With Funerailles added to the mix, this makes for a very appropriate follow up to Halloween.  Ohlsson is well known to NPR listeners nation-wide as musically reliable and astute.  This is a solid gift option.

Intimate Masterpieces
OC 13-04
ISBN# 8 84501 95161 6
more info.
Ravel's beloved work for harp, "Introduction & Allegro" is played by Yolanda Kondonassis, along with soprano Ellie Dehn on "5 Popular Greek Melodies."  The Jupiter Quartet plays "String Quartet in F" and the program is completed with "Chansons Madecasses."  Excellent musicians from one of the top conservatories in the U.S. bring you the range of Ravel's music from the challenging, to the engaging, to the absolute pleasure.

LANG LANG, piano
Berlin Philharmonic
SONY 3732252
ISBN # 8 8883 73225 2 2
for more information
Take a look at the cover of this CD.   Look at the placement of the Composer names, and the works compared to the soloist and conductor.   The size of the type face tells you that these two Composers can be difficult to "sell," and that the performers are being used as the promotion.  While it is true that both Prokofiev and Bartok have created many works that can try the patience of the most adventuresome concert goer, it is also true that the two chosen works here are both exploratory AND very engaging.   This very smart pairing of two accessible works by sometimes challenging composers makes for energetic, riveting, and surprisingly fun listening.  If you cling to the traditional, but want to break out... this is the one you've been waiting for.  A pleasant surprise!

Join us next week for more great music, Just Opened!
Kara Dahl Russell

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