The WSCL Blog

News and information about WSCL's Classical Music Programming

Friday, March 20, 2015

Just Opened - March 20th, 2015

We continue our Just Opened celebration of Women's History month with many new releases by female artists, performers and composers, performing solo and in "concert" with others.

Yolanda Kondonassis, harp
Jason Vieaux, guitar
ACD 71297
ISBN# 7 8786 7 1297 2 2
Jason Vieaux is riding high right now, having just won a 2015 Classical Grammy for his solo guitar CD, "Play."   He and harpist Yolanda Kondonassis have worked together for quite a while, and the blend of their playing on this CD is mesmerizing.  There are many times when the listener can not tell which is playing, and if only one is playing, or both.  Some of this is a natural sonic compatibility of two plucked string instruments, and it is heightened by the magnificent playing of both performers.  Several of these works are new commissions, some (Like Hovhanness's "Spirit of Trees") have been around for awhile, but still rarely performed.  As with any CD of new compositions, there are challenging works that may not be a favorite, but many of the works have the rhythm and spirit one expects of spanish guitar, making this CD of mostly new or unfamiliar works highly accessible.

Simone Dinnerstein, piano
Leipzig Radio Symphony Orchestra
Kristjan Jarvi, cond.
Sony Classical Records
ISBN# 8 8875 03245 2 8
My Delight of the Week.  For someone who tried to publicize herself as a musical "outsider," Simone Dinnerstein is about as hot in music circles as anyone.  In 7 years she has had 12 major label releases, both solo and working with big names like Zuill Bailey, and - as here - with major orchestras.  While Dinnerstein is best known for major solo keyboard works of Bach, and more complex and introspective Romantic era works, the program on this CD is sure to please.  Ravel's Piano Concerto in G is paired with an infectious, melodic new work by Philip Lasser called "The Circle and the Child." (Lasser's work is the reason that this CD is my delight of the week.  What a pleasant surprise!)  The program is topped off with Gershwin's ever popular, "Rhapsody In Blue."

Maria Wildhaber, bassoon
MSR 1517
ISBN# 6 81585 15172 3
Wildhaber's rich basson sound takes us through a variety of sound worlds on mostly new works, including her own compostion for two bassons - arrangements of Bulgarian folk music.  As with most "recital" CDs today, some of the works are technically and melodically challenging, but there are many others here that provide a velvety rich melody and that smooth creamy sound.  Obviously, a solo bassoon CD is not going to be the first thing that people think they have to rush out and buy, but for people who play the bassoon, and those who understand and love reed instruments, the works here provide new repertoire possibilities, and fine listening.

Quire Cleveland
Ross W. Duffin, cond.
QC 104
ISBN# 8 88295 14733 0
Another Choral gem from Quire Cleveland, and this one in plenty of time to have in advance for all the summer patriotic festivals.  Quire Cleveland has been intentional about creating a catalogue of their repertoire, which results in a wealth of options for their audience for the Holidays and in between.The works here include settings of religious and secular works, mostly by American Composers ranging from John Playford to Amy Beach and Nathaniel Dett.

Thanks again to our S.U. Practicum Taylor Goebel for her help pulling together the pictures and basic info. on the CDs to help you get more information on your favorites.
Kara Dahl Russell

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