The WSCL Blog

News and information about WSCL's Classical Music Programming

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Just Opened, Friday December 12th, 2014

Great Music for Christmas comes in many forms and styles.   Today we have Renee Fleming's jazzy new release with a lot of crossover guests, Steinway Artist Jeffrey Biegel's piano Christmas CD, and some all-season baroque music that sits well during the holidays and all year 'round.

Piano Music for the Season
Jeffrey Biegel, piano
Steinway & Sons 30005
ISBN#0 34062 30005 1
The Official site for Jeffrey Biegel
My Delight of the Week.  Jeffrey Biegel is a favorite of mine, incredible talent, boundless enthusiasm, a lover of traditional works and great supporter and performer of new works - all that, and a very charming, engaging person as well.   We have recently aired his more current Steinway release, "A Grand Romance" that focuses on large and small salon gems.  This is 2011 release that we had not previously received here at the station, and we are grateful that he (and Steinway) were willing to add it to our library this year, just in time for you to hear it and add it to your timeless collection.  For many, they want Christmas music, but don't always want the distraction of voices and lyrics.   This collection of beautiful arrangements of traditional favorites for piano is sure to be a much desired stocking stuffer - supplying the seasonal joy and the "simplicity" of piano excellence. 

Baroque Band
Garry Clarke, harpsichord (and Art. Dir.)
ISBN# 7 15131 91522 9
Baroque Band's Official Website
In 2008 Baroque Band became the first-ever resident orchestra of WFMT classical music station (and national supplier of programs for classical music stations like WSCL).   Not to be confused with the musclebound American football star, British composer Maurice Greene lived from 1696 - 1755 and along with Haendel, was one of the most important musical figures in English music of the 18th century.  He had been appointed to every major musical post in England before the age of 40, but today is known mostly - if at all - for his choral music.  This is a rare recording foray into his orchestral overtures and solo harpsichord works.  The "old-timey-ness" of Baroque music suits the season well when one is tired of the better known Holiday fare, and will continue into the new year with ease.  What a lovely way to renew a musical acquaintance.

Renee Fleming (and friends)
DECCA 21104
ISBN# 0 28947 86770 8
Fleming's official website
I can hear my commercial agent in L.A clucking his tounge and saying of this CD, "Renee Fleming is destroying her brand!"  While most WSCL listeners would rather hear Fleming singing great areas and very traditional arrangements of great seasonal works for "great voices," to be fair, Fleming has been branching out in jazz crossover for a while, and this is just another example of it.   Working with "above the title" big names of jazz and folk crossover, she gives a saucy spin on traditional Christmas favorites, and throws in
a few other pieces as well.  Wynton Marslais, Gregory Porter, Kelli O'Hara, Rufus Wainwright, Brad Mehldau, and Kurt Elling are her musical co-conspirators who bring you this urban and urbane take on "Christmas in New York."  Realistically, Fleming is at the stage of her career where she HAS to "mix it up"... she's still lovely, but she most likely won't be playing the little mermaid Rusalka again, and she has the name, the clout, and the fan base to explore other parts of her musical interests.  Opera singers notoriously flop at singing pop and jazz, but Fleming is more versatile than most and utilizes the molasses richness of her lower register to fine indolent effect. This is probably not going to be on the Christmas list for the hard-line Classical Music lovers, despite Fleming's presence, but for many, this will be a new facet of Fleming that they will enjoy, and will undoubtedly be another selection that will introduce "people who don't like Classical music" to her engaging voice and presence and give them an entre to her other, more prominent body of work.

Join us next week for more new releases, Just Opened.
Kara Dahl Rusell

1 comment:

Jeffrey Biegel said...

I am deeply honored, and wish everyone a peaceful, joyous and healthy holiday season and new year!


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