The WSCL Blog

News and information about WSCL's Classical Music Programming

Friday, October 24, 2014

Just Opened - October 24, 2014 - The Edge of New

The very traditional, from Beethoven to operetta, and the new edge of old, with new works for harpsichord and new works that incorporate traditional eastern instruments.  Today, new releases, just opened.

Jonas Kaufmann, tenor
SONY Classical 88843087712
ISBN # 8 8843 08771 2 2
Official Website of Jonas Kaufmann 
My Delight of the Week.   Better known for some of his operatic "heavy lifting"... the lengthy roles of Wagner, like Parsifal, dishy Kaufmann reinvigorates the overlooked genre of operetta.   These infectious and fun melodies, often dismissed as too light, Kaufmann reveals to be some of the more demanding works he has sung... partially because performing them correctly needs to seem effortless.  Unlike some opera roles where part of the "drama" is the tenor "working" for his high notes, the goal in operetta was silken smoothness and the seeming ability to toss these works off without trying (remember that Maurice Chevalier began in this world, and you immediately understand the attitude of casual elegance).  For several years I've been asking music producers "why don't we see more productions of operettas?  The music is delightful, the settings colorful, and they've been forgotten, so they'd be NEW to a new generation."  (I've been lobbying for a modern dress production of Desert Song - very appropriate, considering....)  Singers rejoice in the hope that Kaufmann's attention may bring these roles & productions back into vogue!

An Original Tribute to Ancient Egypt
Instrumental music by Pamela Sklar
MSR 1498
ISBN # 6 81585 14982 9
Official Website of Pamela Sklar 
These works by Sklar are the exciting edge of modern music, where folk (a la middle eastern and north african traditional music) meets the exotic and chamber works in inventive ways that are very compelling.  Especially appealing to the "world music" crowd, this is very accessible modern music that builds on the "orientalism" of Borodin and other Romantic era composers whose work was inspired by, and infused with eastern influence.

Leif Ove Andsnes, piano
SONY CLASSICAL 88843058862
ISBN # 8 8843 05886 2 2
Official Website of Leif Ove Andsnes
This world renowned pianist continues his journey through the major works of Beethoven for piano and orchestra (and sometimes chorus, too).   Working with top flight orchestras in this series, Andsnes creates CDs that can easily become part of the essential core of your classical music library.

Elaine Funaro, harpsichordist
Gasparo GSCD 331
ISBN # 7 5510 10331 2 8
Official Website of Elaine Funaro
Elaine Funaro continues to explore the musical possibilities of that "old" instrument, the harpsichord in new works that take on the soundscape of new compositions, as well as other new works that lean heavily on the structure and sound of the past. Some of these keyboard works will be too modern and inaccessible for many listeners.  Funaro has a large body of recorded works, and they are worth exploring.  Funaro is currently the President of the Historical Keyboard Society of North America, and artistic director of Alienor, the (US based) international competition for new harpsichord music, and is intensely involved in the perpetuation of older and devleopment of new works for harpsichord.  (Her teachers included Ton Koopman and Gustav Leonhardt.)

Thanks to our SU Practicum, Stephanie Clark, for pulling together the pix and website info. to help you find out more about the CDs that pique your interest.
Kara Dahl Russell

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