The WSCL Blog

News and information about WSCL's Classical Music Programming

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Just Opened - March 7, 2014

We have an eclectic mix of new releases today on JUST OPENED, including a CD sampler of the accomplished work of members of the Worcester Chamber Music Society.   Last summer I attended their summer camp (one of the few music camps open to adults as well as children).   They are taking applications now for both of their week-long summer camp sessions.

Worcester Chamber Music Society
ISBN #8 45121 04640 3
Very invested in keeping great music as an active, integrated and inspiring part of the community, the razor-sharp focus of the WCMS on the communicative process of chamber music is informative and influential for musicians of any age.  Their summer camp sessions include intensive music sessions, choir, and evening performances through the week by their highly credentialed and acclaimed faculty.

Kate Prestia-Schaub, Piccolo
Marin Kennedy, piano
ISBN# 8 84502 95273 6
Kate Prestia-Schaub's Official Website
This is a CD of recital works for piccolo + one (piano), and solo works, almost all new works by living composers.  Prestia-Schaub is passionate about expanding the repertoire for piccolo, and, having won many awards, she is placed perfectly to do so.   She also receives rave reviews as a supportive and inspiring teacher.

Valerie Milot, harp
Les Violons Du Roy, chamber orchestra
Claire Marchand, flute
AN 29990
ISBN# 7 74204 99902 5
Valerie Milot's Official Website
Milot is the new "it girl" of the harp, having won many coveted awards, and indeed, having the opportunity to record these historic works with the renowned "Les Violons Du Roy" could be said to be another coverted award in itself.  Either through the recording process, or through choice of instrument, the sound of the harp on these works has a very crisp, crystalline sound that is very much like the sound of the historic single action harps that would have premiered these works.  This sound fits perfectly with the historically accurate approach of this orchestra, but some modern ears may find this tonality a bit thin for their taste.   Only a very few, highly favored harpists get to record this "big 3" of harp works... to have them all on one CD is a treat.   The extremely well-known concertos by Handel and Mozart, with a personal favorite of mine - the one by Boieldieu. (My only quibble here is actually in this concerto; the harp entrance is delayed quite a bit, and then begins with an extended trill - a diva's entrance.  In hearing many performances, this extended trill is most effective when it is extended... the effect of a breathless hush falling on the room that seems to hover like a puff of infinity.  Here the trill is kept in stricter time, which lessens the magic of the entrance - makes it a little less... trilling.)  Many people say they "love harp music" but don't know where to start.  This is an excellent starter kit for those who like an orchestral sound. 

3 CD set
Andrew Rangell, piano
Steinway & Sons 30024
ISBN# 0 34062 30024 2
More Information on Andrew Rangell
Now a "Steinway Artist", Rangell continues to perform on multiple labels, and while his focus has largely been on traditional works, he spices things up with off-beat composer choices, too, and he is simply, uniformly magnificent.  My delight of the week, this is another great gift idea.  In this case, the traditional works played on a modern instrument, which makes the works very accessible to the modern ear. 

Westwood Wind Quintet
Crystal Records CD759
ISBN# 0 09414 77592 4
For More Information on the Westwood Wind Quintet
Modern works for winds.  Most of these new works take the fun, laughter-filled wind music of the early 1900s into a realm of today's dissonance and deconstruction that makes them pretty inaccessible for the average listener.  I'd say this one is either for wind players who are game to explore the adventure on their own instrument, and those who really enjoy a musical challenge.

Anna Williams, violin
Mikhail Veselov, cello
Toni James, piano
Neave Trio
ISBN # 6 40236 95012 2
The Neave Trio's Official Website
This CD contains a contrast of 2 major modern piano trios, by Faure and Shostakovitch.  Shoxtakovitch chamber works seem to be enjoing a particular heyday right now, despite being less melodic and more academic than many other works.  The Faure is very accessible, of course, and sparkles.

Thanks again to Jessica Reeves, our SU practicum who has helped to pull together photos and info. for the blog basics.  Join us next week for more new releases, Just Opened.
Kara Dahl Russell

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