The WSCL Blog

News and information about WSCL's Classical Music Programming

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Just Opened - August 22, 2014 - Women Looking Both Ways

Today on Just Opened, we focus again on female artists, performer musicians who also arrange and compose.  Women who both perform historical works, and also bring music right up to the present moment.

Music of Barbara Harbach
Kirk Trevor, cond.
London Philharmonic Orchestra
MSR 1519
ISBN# 6 81585 15192 1
A variety of works for orchestra can be heard on this CD.  Several are inspired by places and regions of America, and have a melodicism that makes these works much more accessible than some of the more challenging or intellectual works of Harbach.  This is an easy pick to add some contemporary compositions to your musical collection, tuneful works by a highly respected working female composer.

Barbara Harbach, organ
MSR 1442 - 2CD set
ISBN# 6 81585 14422 0
The other side of Harbach's career - as a performer and interpreter of great historic works.  This 2 CD set displays her love of the foundational composers, and her technical proficiency on, and commitment to some of the most daunting repertoire.
Kim Robertson, celtic harp
Gourd Music 140
ISBN# 0 9016 70140 2 6
Robertson is arguably one of the best known harpists in the world, precisely because she has focused on music with a cross-over appeal.  Her music appeals to historical early music purists, the folk music audience, and classical music listeners who appreciate the wide variety of technique, training, and musicality that Robertson brings to "the table" (pun intended... "le table" being a term for the harp's soundboard).  She has been established on WSCL for many years before I came on board. This CD includes works from historically seminal volumes, Playford's "The English Dancing Master" and "Sharpe's Ballad Book."   She has a particular gift for mentally and musically cross-referencing works like these with folk melodies and blending them into engaging arrangements that sound both historically "right" and absolutely current.  Having had the good fortune to have been coached by her myself, I know first hand her ability to break things down to essentials, and to take the focus in varied directions while working toward a musical goal.  Aside from the musical knowledge (she studied classical piano and harp) and love she brings to the works we hear on this CD, Robertson is known for her own exquisite arrangements and compositions, her music collections and  pedagogy, her teaching and coaching, and her irrepressible enthusiasm for making traditional music relevant and heartfelt.  If you enjoy exploring traditional and historical music without the dusty cloud, this and other CDs by Robertson are easy favorites.

Laurel Zucker, flute (& composer)
With strings, winds & piano
ISBN# 8 84501 96163 9
My Delight of the Week.  Zucker has been a regular on our playlists for many many years.  She has an impressive, prolific recording output (close to 40 CDs) and on-going concert career.  Early on in her career, she began to be compared to the greats and has continued that tradition of excellence.  She seems to have chosen to focus largely on chamber works, and her own productions and recordings.  These led naturally to her own compositions, and here we have a beautiful mix of chamber works - for winds, for strings, for piano & flute duo.   Some are progressively modern, and many others tunefully inspired by folk music and regions of America.

Love Poems of Pablo Neruda
Ute Lemper, vocalist & composer
with Marcelo Nisinman
ISBN# 0 34062 30020 4
Lemper and Friends give rhythm and musical spice to the love poems of Neruda.  Lemper's voice and musical stylings are not the norm for our "classical/orchestral" focus here on WSCL, but worth visiting, as she has cut such an indelible mark in her trade-mark performances.  Renowned A-list cabaret performer Lemper is known to lovers of great music, theatre and art world wide.

Join us next week for more new releases of great music, Just Opened.
Kara Dahl Russell

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