The WSCL Blog

News and information about WSCL's Classical Music Programming

Friday, August 21, 2015

JUST OPENED - August 21, 2015 - Bach and Beyond

Today we have a grounding of Basic Bach and then make musical excursions all over the place, with a healthy dose of new Choral Music created (as with most of Bach's music) for religious observation.

Susan Chan, piano
MSR 1280
ISBN# 6 81585 12802 2
My delight of the week!  Continuing her adventures in juxtaposition of traditional Western composers and composers of the East, in works for solo piano, Susan Chan continues to open up listening windows.  Chan's accolades are worldwide, as is her training.  As an instructor she has tenure at Washington State Universtiy and currently teaches at Portland State University.  She actively promotes the music of female and Asian composers. This "East West" series beautifully demonstrates her love of classics, her ability to allign these traditional works with the works of modern and less known composers, and a larger mission.  They underscore her musical technique and understanding, with an educational component that is simultaneously accessible and expansive.

Roger Davidson, composer
Harold Rosenbaum, Cond.
New York Virtuoso Singers
SR (Soundbrush) 1034
ISBN# 8 88295 27646 7
A large number of our listeners love choral music and many are active in choirs, in church and secular choirs - sometimes both!  Davidson's new works of "universal sacred music" take traditional forms from many religions and incorporate them into new works that have a timeless sound.

for Acoustic Guitar
Steven Hancoff, guitar
OUT 960
ISBN# 7 00261 42386 9
Gift giver's delight.  Hancoff's labor of love in this 3 CD set of the Bach cello works transcribed for guitar shines through in the booklet that comes with the CD that details how he became acquainted with Bach, and then became something of a Bach biographer with a mission to help spread Bach's works to audiences that might not usually know or be aware of his works.  For the purist, it can take a sizable adjustment to get the ear used to hearing these works for a bowed instrument played on a plucked instrument with limited sustain.  For the (very large) audience who simply loves acoustic guitar, this is a welcome joy (and a great gift idea)!

Discovering Treasure for Solo Flute
Francesca Arnone, flute
MSR 1457
ISBN# 6 81585 14572 2
A CD of works for solo flute is simply not for everyone.  When these works are all by modern composers, the percentage goes down.  So why then does a performer record works like these?  Well, for some performers, it is as simple as they like working on modern music, it can be intellectually stimulating and challenge musical routines for the performer.  It's a labor of love for the instrument and the exercise of learning new works that may be both musically and melodically challenging, with an eye toward expanding both pedogogy and possibly exposing the audience to works that may, over time, become well known.  Francesca Arnone is well placed to do this, having played in the Americas, Asia and Europe, in some of the world's finest concert locations.  She also has another concurrent CD of very infectious and melodic works called "Dedications" which we've aired quite a bit since we "opened" it, which is worth looking up, and much more accessible.   Koechlin had a varied musical inner life which was in keeping with the arts of his day, sometimes very abstract, sometimes absurd, yet often romantic (melodic).  Like Reynaldo Hahn, he was known for creating extensive experimental works, and even here, Arnone recorded only about 1/2 of the movement of this exceedingly rarely performed work.  If you adore the flute, and you are musically very adventuresome, this CD will expand your horizons.

The Catalyst Quartet
AZICA 71300
ISBN# 7 87867 13002 5
The Catalyst Quartet are gaining critical raves and taking risks with their programming.  Here, their impressive project of arranging Bach's Goldberg Variations for chamber group is paired with a composition of Glenn Gould, one of the foremost interpreters of the Bach work.  Gould's work is rarely played (lovers of linear melody might add, "for good reason"), but is a smart and challenging addition to this arrangment of a beloved work of Bach that resonates on multiple levels.

Join us next week for more new releases, Just Opened!
Kara Dahl Russell

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