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News and information about WSCL's Classical Music Programming

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Just Opened - April 24, 2015 - Strong Music by Strong Women

After pulling together today's program, I realized the unifying feature of today's Just Opened seems to be women in leadership, in music that is at least partially confrontational.  Strong music by Strong women.

Our Just Opened program today strongly features women, up front, and in leadership positions of several groups.   From the established virtuoso pianist, Anne-Marie McDermott, internationally renowned violinist and leader/founder of La Pieta, Angele Dubeau, to long term orchestral harpist Gretchen Van Hoesen, and a "brassy" new breakout artist, trumpeter Mary Elizabeth Bowden.

Mary Elizabeth Bowden, trumpet
Bowden's Official Website
Summit DCD 655
ISBN# 0 99402 65592 5
Today's guest host for Just Opened, Tom Hehman, will be able to wax poetic about the skills of trumpeter Bowden.   This CD is a mixed group of new works for trumpet and...  (mostly piano, but a few trios).  As with many current "recital CDs"  many the works are frankly difficult to listen to, challenging in the sense of not only modern concert music, but - as we have a trumpet in the forefront - the kind of Dizzy Gillespe inspired jazz improvization that can feel... interminable.  If you're a fan of that, you'll find even the most challenging works here a piece of cake.  In contrast, there are the works by composer Joseph Turrin, which  are melodic and highly accessible, what some would call "modern classical."  We closed the program today with a fascinating new work called "Totem Voices" in which each movement represents one of the animal/spirits on a totem pole, it is the best of both worlds, exploratory, intellectually engaging, and tuneful.

Noah Bendix-Balgley, violin
Gretchen Van Hoesen, harp
Anne Martindale Williams, cello
Bendix-Balgley's Official Website
More info on Van Hoesen
More info on Williams
ISBN# 7 00261 40684 8
As with a piano trio, where the piano is both the foundation and often the leader of the trio, this position is often fullfilled by the upright "keyboard" instrument, the harp.  On this CD, this parallel is probably most obvious in the opening Haydn work, where the harps plays the part that is most often heard played on piano.  The major work on this CD is Henriette Renie's Symphonic Trio which is a major chamber work by any standard.  The program on this CD adds a splash of color with Reynaldo Hahn's art song "A Chloris" with the violin taking the vocal line, and closes with the spice of a closing piece by Carlos Gardel.

Beethoven, Brahms, Schumann
Alexander Beridze, piano
Beridze's Official Website
NY Classics
ISBN# 8 88295 19046 6
Georgian pianist Beridze has performed at Carnegie Hall, and been hailed as an "exceptional artist" by American Record Guide, and won the 2009 Cincinnati World Piano Competition.  He has a touring schedule, and regular recital program "packages."  This CD represents the majority of his recital program No. 1, and gives an opportunity to those of us who can not travel around to the great halls of the world to hear his polished performances of these accessible and beloved great piano showpieces.

Angele Dubeau, violin
La Pieta
Dubeau's Official Website
More info on La Pieta
Analekta 2 8738
ISBN# 7 74204 87382 0
Angele Dubeau and her (all female chamber ensemble) La Pieta have an impressive body of recordings, from very traditional to a very focused attention to contemporary works and composers.  Notably, a few years ago, they released a CD of recordings of "game music" arranged for chamber orchestra - highlighting the rich beauty and evocative nature of much of this game music.  Einaudi's has composed music for many modern films, with a sound world that is both "classically trained" and infused with a sense of pop, rock, and modern musical forms.  Film music, especially that of today, has a "waiting" quality.  That is, of course, essential to music for film... it has to fill an emotional mood with a certain consistency to provide an emotional background, and then POP or FIZZ or swing to an extreme emotional change in connection with the screen image and action.  Unlike the lush film scores of the 1940s, for the most part today, this means music that is quiet and repetitive or tensely brooding.  Being a full CD of the works of one composer gives the program a continuity that will be boring for some, and for others, uniquely fullfilling.

Anne-Marie McDermott, piano
with Scott Yoo conducting
Odense Symphony Orchestra
McDermott's Official Website
BRIDGE 9438 - 2CD set
ISBN# 0 90404 94382 9
My Delight of the Week! & Gift Giver's Delight!  Established, critically acclaimed, internationally recognized and classically oriented could all be said of McDermott.   While she has performed & recorded the works of Prokofiev and Scriabin, she seems to have a particular affinity and affection for the Classical era.  To her previous recordings of Mozart she now adds a 2 CD set of Haydn sonatas, each CD culminating in one of his Piano Concertos.  This CD provides so much of what many classical listeners yearn for.   Mature, literate, polished performances of not only great solo piano repertoire, but the increasingly difficult to find orchestral releases of traditional Classical era works.  McDermott performs over 100 concerts a year around the world, and has been a working respected professional for over 25 years.  A marvelous addition to any concert library.

Thanks again to our S.U. practicum, Taylor Goebel, for pulling together the pics, links, and basic info. on today's CDs.   Join us again next week as we open up new releases, and releases new to our library, on Just Opened, each Friday from 1PM to 4PM on WSCL 89.5FM.
Kara Dahl Russell

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