Let the Holiday Season Begin. Today we have a mixture of releases, traditional Christmas carols by the Medieval Baebes; Hebrew/Prayer inspired works by Mohammed Fairouz, a 2CD set of Bach's French Suites and a 5! CD set of guitarist Sharon Isbin. I have mentioned that this year, we seem to be receiving very few releases of actual Christmas and/or Holiday music, and instead there seem to have been many "big" releases, big names, and gift sets, intended for gift-giving.
Just my little reminder that if you are giving music this season (to yourself or others) please buy the CD to support the artist. (Downloads and streams have much less income revenue for the artists.)
5 Classic Albums
WARNER 24364 8
5 CD Set
ISBN# 8 25646 24364 8
Taking notes for your holiday gift giving? This is sure to be a favorite with tremendous cross-over appeal. American guitarist Isbin has been recognized around the world, and her talent and fame have allowed her to play in every genre imaginable. Each of these CDs has been released separately, but this gift set puts them together in a powerful testament to her versaitility and love of music. The Cds include the great, beloved guitar concertos with orchestra, Baroque favorites for guitar (with a variety of guest musicians), 2 modern guitar concertos, folk-inspired music for guitar from around the world, and a CD of mostly latin music for quitar and saxophone with percussion. Something here for everyone, and a great way again to introduce the "non-classical" music person to a mix of works including works that will make them sit up and say "I didn't realize that is classical music, I love that!"
The Six French Suites
Sergey Shepkin, piano
STEINWAY & SONS 30046
2 CD set
ISBN# 0 34062 30046 4
My Delight of the Week! With the CD Shepkin embarks on a mission to record all of Bach's works for solo piano, and this is a lovely place to start. The French suites are full of melody and Shepkin's playing is intensely nuanced. This CD also includes two additional Bach works, one of them recorded twice, on different Steinways of different periods, to allow for a tonal comparison of the pianos. An exquisite gift for the musical purist.
ISBN # 0 53479 21772 1
Official Website of Mohammed Fairouz
A choral offering for Hanukkah: Fairous has been hailed as the new Franz Schubert for his choral works, and this choral symphony, Poems and Prayers is sure to strike a chord of harmony. His works blend elements from Hebrew/Israeli and Arab culture are intended to emphasize the commonality of faith. The sections of the choral symphony are Kaddish, Lullaby, Minyan, Night Fantasy, Oseh Shalom, and closes with Memorial Day for the War Dead. This CD opens with a marvelous work for Clarinet and Orchestra (featuring David Krakauer) called Tahrir.
A Christmas Carol Collection
ISBN # 5 018791 111251
Official Website of Mediaeval Baebes
The Mediaeval Baebes use mediaeval source material and original instrument back ups. Founding member Katharine Blake does many of the arrangements and other members play early instruments while others have regular jobs and other singing gigs. While they bill themselves as as a "classical choral group" and some of their members have traditional legit voice training, their singing placement style is most often the style called "natural" (similar to the breathy sound of Celtic Woman). It's a compelling combination of legitimate early music artistry, pop vocal style and the sex appeal of a female chorus of young attractive women in arty attire. It reminds me a bit of some of the historically "creative" pursuits of renaissance faires or "goddess worship" that may have a lot more to do with a modern slant on history than on researched material. Our more "serious" listeners will be unhappy with the vocal style, but for many, this is just the ticket for holiday choral music with a nod to history and tradition.
Thanks again to our SU practicum student Stephanie Clark for pulling together the pics and info. to make your musical web-surfing more easy.
Kara Dahl Russell